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´╗┐Title: The Poems of Emma Lazarus, Volume 1
Author: Lazarus, Emma, 1849-1887
Language: English
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THE POEMS of EMMA LAZARUS

in Two Volumes

VOL. I.

Narrative, Lyric, and dramatic


TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

  "Sunrise" is an elegy to James A. Garfield, 20th President of
  the United States, who died on September 19, 1881, from a gunshot
  wound received in an assassination attempt in July of that year.

  "The New Colossus" is engraved on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.



CONTENTS.


  BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF EMMA LAZARUS.


  EPOCHS.--

       I. Youth.
      II. Regret.
     III. Longing.
      IV. Storm.
       V. Surprise.
      VI. Grief.
     VII. Acceptance.
    VIII. Loneliness.
      IX. Sympathy.
       X. Patience.
      XI. Hope.
     XII. Compensation.
    XIII. Faith.
     XIV. Work.
      XV. Victory.
     XVI. Peace.

  HOW LONG!
  HEROES.
  ADMETUS.
  TANNHAUSER.
  LINKS.
  MATINS.
  SAINT ROMUALDO.
  AFTERNOON.

  PHANTASIES.--

       I. Evening.
      II. Aspiration.
     III. Wherefore?
      IV. Fancies.
       V. In the Night.
      VI. Faerie.
     VII. Confused Dreams.

  ON THE PROPOSAL TO ERECT A MONUMENT IN ENGLAND TO LORD BYRON.
  ARABESQUE.
  AGAMEMNON'S TOMB.
  SIC SEMPER LIBERATORIBUS.
  DON RAFAEL.
  OFF ROUGH POINT
  MATER AMABILIS.
  FOG.
  THE ELIXIR.
  SONG.
  SPRING LONGING.
  Spring Longing.
  THE SOUTH.
  SPRING STAR.
  A JUNE NIGHT.
  MAGNETISM
  AUGUST MOON.
  SUNRISE.
  A MASQUE OF VENICE.
  AUTUMN SADNESS.

  SONNETS.

       Echoes.
       Success.
       The New Colossus.
       Chopin I., II., III., IV.
       Symphonic Studies  Prelude, I., II., III., IV., V., VI.,
            Epilogue.
       Long Island Sound.
       Destiny.
       1879.
       From one Augur to Another.
       The Cranes of Ibycus.
       Critic and Poet.
       St. Michael's Chapel.
       Life and Art.
       Sympathy.
       Youth and Death.
       Age and Death.
       City Visions.
       Influence.
       Restlessness.

  THE SPAGNOLETTO: A Play in Five Acts.


  Publisher's note: Thanks are due to the Editors of "The Century,"
  Lippincott's Magazine, and "The Critic," for their courtesy in
  allowing the poems published by them to be reprinted in these
  pages.



EMMA LAZARUS. (Written for "The Century Magazine")

Born July 22, 1849; Died November 19, 1887.


One hesitates to lift the veil and throw the light upon a life so hidden
and a personality so withdrawn as that of Emma Lazarus; but while her
memory is fresh, and the echo of her songs still lingers in these pages,
we feel it a duty to call up her presence once more, and to note the
traits that made it remarkable and worthy to shine out clearly before
the world. Of dramatic episode or climax in her life there is none;
outwardly all was placid and serene, like an untroubled stream whose
depths alone hold the strong, quick tide. The story of her life is the
story of a mind, of a spirit, ever seeking, ever striving, and pressing
onward and upward to new truth and light. Her works are the mirror of
this progress. In reviewing them, the first point that strikes us is the
precocity, or rather the spontaneity, of her poetic gift. She was a born
singer; poetry was her natural language, and to write was less effort
than to speak, for she was a shy, sensitive child, with strange reserves
and reticences, not easily putting herself "en rapport" with those
around her. Books were her world from her earliest years; in them she
literally lost and found herself. She was eleven years old when the War
of Succession broke out, which inspired her first lyric outbursts.
Her poems and translations written between the ages of fourteen and
seventeen were collected, and constituted her first published volume.
Crude and immature as these productions naturally were, and utterly
condemned by the writer's later judgment, they are, nevertheless, highly
interesting and characteristic, giving, as they do, the keynote of
much that afterwards unfolded itself in her life. One cannot fail to
be rather painfully impressed by the profound melancholy pervading
the book. The opening poem is "In Memoriam,"--on the death of a school
friend and companion; and the two following poems also have death for
theme. "On a Lock of my Mother's Hair" gives us reflections on growing
old. These are the four poems written at the age of fourteen. There is
not a wholly glad and joyous strain in the volume, and we might smile
at the recurrence of broken vows, broken hearts, and broken lives in the
experience of this maiden just entered upon her teens, were it not
that the innocent child herself is in such deadly earnest. The two long
narrative poems, "Bertha" and "Elfrida," are tragic in the extreme. Both
are dashed off apparently at white heat: "Elfrida," over fifteen hundred
lines of blank verse, in two weeks; "Bertha," in three and a half. We
have said that Emma Lazarus was a born singer, but she did not sing,
like a bird, for joy of being alive; and of being young, alas! there is
no hint in these youthful effusions, except inasmuch as this unrelieved
gloom, this ignorance of "values," so to speak, is a sign of youth,
common especially among gifted persons of acute and premature
sensibilities, whose imagination, not yet focused by reality,
overreached the mark. With Emma Lazarus, however, this sombre streak has
a deeper root; something of birth and temperament is in it--the stamp
and heritage of a race born to suffer. But dominant and fundamental
though it was, Hebraism was only latent thus far. It was classic
and romantic art that first attracted and inspired her. She pictures
Aphrodite the beautiful, arising from the waves, and the beautiful
Apollo and his loves,--Daphne, pursued by the god, changing into the
laurel, and the enamored Clytie into the faithful sunflower. Beauty, for
its own sake, supreme and unconditional, charmed her primarily and
to the end. Her restless spirit found repose in the pagan idea,--the
absolute unity and identity of man with nature, as symbolized in the
Greek myths, where every natural force becomes a person, and where, in
turn, persons pass with equal readiness and freedom back into nature
again.

In this connection a name would suggest itself even if it did not
appear,--Heine, the Greek, Heine the Jew, Heine the Romanticist, as Emma
Lazarus herself has styled him; and already in this early volume of hers
we have trace of the kinship and affinity that afterwards so plainly
declared itself. Foremost among the translations are a number of
his songs, rendered with a finesse and a literalness that are rarely
combined. Four years later, at the age of twenty-one, she published her
second volume, "Admetus and Other Poems," which at once took rank as
literature both in America and England, and challenged comparison with
the work of established writers. Of classic themes we have "Admetus" and
"Orpheus," and of romantic the legend of Tannhauser and of the saintly
Lohengrin. All are treated with an artistic finish that shows perfect
mastery of her craft, without detracting from the freshness and flow of
her inspiration. While sounding no absolutely new note in the world,
she yet makes us aware of a talent of unusual distinction, and a highly
endowed nature,--a sort of tact of sentiment and expression, an instinct
of the true and beautiful, and that quick intuition which is like
second-sight in its sensitiveness to apprehend and respond to external
stimulus. But it is not the purely imaginative poems in this volume that
most deeply interest us. We come upon experience of life in these pages;
not in the ordinary sense, however, of outward activity and movement,
but in the hidden undercurrent of being. "The epochs of our life are not
in the visible facts, but in the silent thoughts by the wayside as we
walk." This is the motto, drawn from Emerson, which she chooses for her
poem of "Epochs," which marks a pivotal moment in her life. Difficult
to analyze, difficult above all to convey, if we would not encroach
upon the domain of private and personal experience, is the drift of
this poem, or rather cycle of poems, that ring throughout with a deeper
accent and a more direct appeal than has yet made itself felt. It is the
drama of the human soul,--"the mystic winged and flickering butterfly,"
"flitting between earth and sky," in its passage from birth to death.

A golden morning of June! "Sweet empty sky without a stain." Sunlight
and mist and "ripple of rain-fed rills." "A murmur and a singing
manifold."


            "What simple things be these the soul to raise
             To bounding joy, and make young pulses beat
             With nameless pleasure, finding life so sweet!"


Such is youth, a June day, fair and fresh and tender with dreams and
longing and vague desire. The morn lingers and passes, but the noon has
not reached its height before the clouds begin to rise, the sunshine
dies, the air grows thick and heavy, the lightnings flash, the thunder
breaks among the hills, rolls and gathers and grows, until


                   Behold, yon bolt struck home,
             And over ruined fields the storm hath come."


Now we have the phases of the soul,--the shock and surprise of grief in
the face of the world made desolate. Loneliness and despair for a space,
and then, like stars in the night, the new births of the spirit, the
wonderful outcoming from sorrow: the mild light of patience at first;
hope and faith kindled afresh in the very jaws of evil; the new meaning
and worth of life beyond sorrow, beyond joy; and finally duty, the
holiest word of all, that leads at last to victory and peace. The poem
rounds and completes itself with the close of "the long, rich day," and
the release of


           "The mystic winged and flickering butterfly,
            A human soul, that drifts at liberty,
            Ah! who can tell to what strange paradise,
            To what undreamed-of fields and lofty skies!"


We have dwelt at some length upon this poem, which seems to us, in a
certain sense, subjective and biographical; but upon closer analysis
there is still another conclusion to arrive at. In "Epochs" we have,
doubtless, the impress of a calamity brought very near to the writer,
and profoundly working upon her sensibilities; not however by direct,
but reflex action, as it were, and through sympathetic emotion--the
emotion of the deeply-stirred spectator, of the artist, the poet who
lives in the lives of others, and makes their joys and their sorrows his
own.

Before dismissing this volume we may point out another clue as to the
shaping of mind and character. The poem of "Admetus" is dedicated "to
my friend Ralph Waldo Emerson." Emma Lazarus was between seventeen and
eighteen years of age when the writings of Emerson fell into her hands,
and it would be difficult to over-estimate the impression produced upon
her. As she afterwards wrote: "To how many thousand youthful hearts has
not his word been the beacon--nay, more, the guiding star--that led them
safely through periods of mental storm and struggle!" Of no one is this
more true than herself. Left, to a certain extent, without compass or
guide, without any positive or effective religious training, this was
the first great moral revelation of her life. We can easily realize
the chaos and ferment of an over-stimulated brain, steeped in romantic
literature, and given over to the wayward leadings of the imagination.
Who can tell what is true, what is false, in a world where fantasy is as
real as fact? Emerson's word fell like truth itself, "a shaft of light
shot from the zenith," a golden rule of thought and action. His books
were bread and wine to her, and she absorbed them into her very being.
She felt herself invincibly drawn to the master, "that fount of wisdom
and goodness," and it was her great privilege during these years to be
brought into personal relations with him. From the first he showed her
a marked interest and sympathy, which became for her one of the most
valued possessions of her life. He criticised her work with the fine
appreciation and discrimination that made him quick to discern the
quality of her talent as well as of her personality, and he was no doubt
attracted by her almost transparent sincerity and singleness of soul, as
well as by the simplicity and modesty that would have been unusual even
in a person not gifted. He constituted himself, in a way, her literary
mentor, advised her as to the books she should read and the attitude of
mind she should cultivate. For some years he corresponded with her very
faithfully; his letters are full of noble and characteristic utterances,
and give evidence of a warm regard that in itself was a stimulus and
a high incentive. But encouragement even from so illustrious a source
failed to elate the young poetess, or even to give her a due sense of
the importance and value of her work, or the dignity of her vocation.
We have already alluded to her modesty in her unwillingness to
assert herself or claim any prerogative,--something even morbid
and exaggerated, which we know not how to define, whether as over-
sensitiveness or indifference. Once finished, the heat and glow of
composition spent, her writings apparently ceased to interest her. She
often resented any allusion to them on the part of intimate friends, and
the public verdict as to their excellence could not reassure or satisfy
her. The explanation is not far, perhaps, to seek. Was it not the
"Ewig-Weibliche" that allows no prestige but its own? Emma Lazarus was
a true woman, too distinctly feminine to wish to be exceptional, or to
stand alone and apart, even by virtue of superiority.

A word now as to her life and surroundings. She was one of a family of
seven, and her parents were both living. Her winters were passed in
New York, and her summers by the sea. In both places her life was
essentially quiet and retired. The success of her book had been mainly
in the world of letters. In no wise tricked out to catch the public
eye, her writings had not yet made her a conspicuous figure, but were
destined slowly to take their proper place and give her the rank that
she afterwards held.

For some years now almost everything that she wrote was published in
"Lippincott's Magazine," then edited by John Foster Kirk, and we shall
still find in her poems the method and movement of her life. Nature
is still the fount and mirror, reflecting, and again reflected, in the
soul. We have picture after picture, almost to satiety, until we grow
conscious of a lack of substance and body and of vital play to the
thought, as though the brain were spending itself in dreamings and
reverie, the heart feeding upon itself, and the life choked by its
own fullness without due outlet. Happily, however, the heavy cloud of
sadness has lifted, and we feel the subsidence of waves after a storm.
She sings "Matins:"--


                  "Does not the morn break thus,
                   Swift, bright, victorious,
                   With new skies cleared for us
                   Over the soul storm-tost?
                   Her night was long and deep,
                   Strange visions vexed her sleep,
                   Strange sorrows bade her weep,
                   Her faith in dawn was lost.


                  "No halt, no rest for her,
                   The immortal wanderer
                   From sphere to higher sphere
                   Toward the pure source of day.
                   The new light shames her fears,
                   Her faithlessness and tears,
                   As the new sun appears
                   To light her god-like way."


Nature is the perpetual resource and consolation. "'T is good to be
alive!" she says, and why? Simply,


                            "To see the light
            That plays upon the grass, to feel (and sigh
            With perfect pleasure) the mild breeze stir
              Among the garden roses, red and white,
                With whiffs of fragrancy."


She gives us the breath of the pines and of the cool, salt seas,
"illimitably sparkling." Her ears drink the ripple of the tide, and she
stops


        "To gaze as one who is not satisfied
         With gazing at the large, bright, breathing sea."


"Phantasies" (after Robert Schumann) is the most complete and perfect
poem of this period. Like "Epochs," it is a cycle of poems, and the
verse has caught the very trick of music,--alluring, baffling, and
evasive. This time we have the landscape of the night, the glamour of
moon and stars,--pictures half real and half unreal, mystic imaginings,
fancies, dreams, and the enchantment of "faerie," and throughout the
unanswered cry, the eternal "Wherefore" of destiny. Dawn ends the song
with a fine clear note, the return of day, night's misty phantoms
rolled away, and the world itself, again green, sparkling and breathing
freshness.

In 1874 she published "Alide," a romance in prose drawn from Goethe's
autobiography. It may be of interest to quote the letter she received
from Tourgeneff on this occasion:--


    "Although, generally speaking, I do not think it advisable
    to take celebrated men, especially poets and artists, as a
    subject for a novel, still I am truly glad to say that I
    have read your book with the liveliest interest.  It is
    very sincere and very poetical at the same time; the life
    and spirit of Germany have no secrets for you, and your
    characters are drawn with a pencil as delicate as it is
    strong.  I feel very proud of the approbation you give to
    my works, and of the influence you kindly attribute to them
    on your own talent; an author who write as you do is not
    a pupil in art any more; he is not far from being himself
    a master."


Charming and graceful words, of which the young writer was justly proud.

About this time occurred the death of her mother, the first break in the
home and family circle. In August of 1876 she made a visit to Concord,
at the Emersons', memorable enough for her to keep a journal and note
down every incident and detail. Very touching to read now, in its almost
childlike simplicity, is this record of "persons that pass and shadows
that remain." Mr. Emerson himself meets her at the station, and drives
with her in his little one-horse wagon to his home, the gray square
house, with dark green blinds, set amidst noble trees. A glimpse of the
family,--"the stately, white-haired Mrs. Emerson, and the beautiful,
faithful Ellen, whose figure seems always to stand by the side of her
august father." Then the picture of Concord itself, lovely and smiling,
with its quiet meadows, quiet slopes, and quietest of rivers. She meets
the little set of Concord people: Mr. Alcott, for whom she does not
share Mr. Emerson's enthusiasm; and William Ellery Channing, whose
figure stands out like a gnarled and twisted scrub-oak,--a pathetic,
impossible creature, whose cranks and oddities were submitted to on
account of an innate nobility of character. "Generally crabbed and
reticent with strangers, he took a liking to me," says Emma Lazarus.
"The bond of our sympathy was my admiration for Thoreau, whose memory he
actually worships, having been his constant companion in his best
days, and his daily attendant in the last years of illness and heroic
suffering. I do not know whether I was most touched by the thought of
the unique, lofty character that had inspired this depth and fervor of
friendship, or by the pathetic constancy and pure affection of the poor,
desolate old man before me, who tried to conceal his tenderness and
sense of irremediable loss by a show of gruffness and philosophy. He
never speaks of Thoreau's death," she says, "but always 'Thoreau's
loss,' or 'when I lost Mr. Thoreau,' or 'when Mr. Thoreau went away from
Concord;' nor would he confess that he missed him, for there was not a
day, an hour, a moment, when he did not feel that his friend was still
with him and had never left him. And yet a day or two after," she goes
on to say, "when I sat with him in the sunlit wood, looking at the
gorgeous blue and silver summer sky, he turned to me and said: 'Just
half of the world died for me when I lost Mr. Thoreau. None of it looks
the same as when I looked at it with him.'... He took me through the
woods and pointed out to me every spot visited and described by his
friend. Where the hut stood is a little pile of stones, and a sign,
'Site of Thoreau's Hut,' and a few steps beyond is the pond with
thickly-wooded shore,--everything exquisitely peaceful and beautiful in
the afternoon light, and not a sound to be heard except the crickets or
the 'z-ing' of the locusts which Thoreau has described. Farther on he
pointed out to me, in the distant landscape, a low roof, the only one
visible, which was the roof of Thoreau's birthplace. He had been over
there many times, he said, since he lost Mr. Thoreau, but had never gone
in,--he was afraid it might look lonely! But he had often sat on a
rock in front of the house and looked at it." On parting from his young
friend, Mr. Channing gave her a package, which proved to be a copy of
his own book on Thoreau, and the pocket compass which Thoreau carried to
the Maine woods and on all his excursions. Before leaving the Emersons
she received the proof-sheets of her drama of "The Spagnoletto," which
was being printed for private circulation. She showed them to Mr.
Emerson, who had expressed a wish to see them, and, after reading them,
he gave them back to her with the comment that they were "good." She
playfully asked him if he would not give her a bigger word to take home
to the family. He laughed, and said he did not know of any; but he
went on to tell her that he had taken it up, not expecting to read it
through, and had not been able to put it down. Every word and line told
of richness in the poetry, he said, and as far as he could judge
the play had great dramatic opportunities. Early in the autumn "The
Spagnoletto" appeared,--a tragedy in five acts, the scene laid in Italy,
1655.

Without a doubt, every one in these days will take up with misgiving,
and like Mr. Emerson "not expecting to read it through," a five-act
tragedy of the seventeenth century, so far removed apparently from the
age and present actualities,--so opposed to the "Modernite," which has
come to be the last word of art. Moreover, great names at once appear;
great shades arise to rebuke the presumptuous new-comer in this highest
realm of expression. "The Spagnoletto" has grave defects that would
probably preclude its ever being represented on the stage. The denoument
especially is unfortunate, and sins against our moral and aesthetic
instinct. The wretched, tiger-like father stabs himself in the presence
of his crushed and erring daughter, so that she may forever be haunted
by the horror and the retribution of his death. We are left suspended,
as it were, over an abyss, our moral judgment thwarted, our humanity
outraged. But "The Spagnoletto" is, nevertheless, a remarkable
production, and pitched in another key from anything the writer has
yet given us. Heretofore we have only had quiet, reflective, passive
emotion: now we have a storm and sweep of passion for which we were
quite unprepared. Ribera's character is charged like a thunder-cloud
with dramatic elements. Maria Rosa is the child of her father, fired at
a flash, "deaf, dumb, and blind" at the touch of passion.


              "Does love steal gently o'er our soul?"

she asks;


                        "What if he come,
                 A cloud, a fire, a whirlwind?"

and then the cry:


                           "O my God!
            This awful joy in mine own heart is love."

Again:


           "While you are here the one thing real to me
            In all the universe is love."


Exquisitely tender and refined are the love scenes--at the ball and in
the garden--between the dashing prince-lover in search of his pleasure
and the devoted girl with her heart in her eyes, on her lips, in her
hand. Behind them, always like a tragic fate, the somber figure of the
Spagnoletto, and over all the glow and color and soul of Italy.

In 1881 appeared the translation of Heine's poems and ballads, which was
generally accepted as the best version of that untranslatable poet. Very
curious is the link between that bitter, mocking, cynic spirit and the
refined, gentle spirit of Emma Lazarus. Charmed by the magic of his
verse, the iridescent play of his fancy, and the sudden cry of the heart
piercing through it all, she is as yet unaware or only vaguely conscious
of the of the real bond between them: the sympathy in the blood,
the deep, tragic, Judaic passion of eighteen hundred years that was
smouldering in her own heart, soon to break out and change the whole
current of thought and feeling.

Already, in 1879, the storm was gathering. In a distant province of
Russia at first, then on the banks of the Volga, and finally in Moscow
itself, the old cry was raised, the hideous mediaeval charge revived,
and the standard of persecution unfurled against the Jews. Province
after province took it up. In Bulgaria, Servia, and, above all,
Roumania, where, we were told, the sword of the Czar had been drawn to
protect the oppressed, Christian atrocities took the place of Moslem
atrocities, and history turned a page backward into the dark annals of
violence and crime. And not alone in despotic Russia, but in Germany,
the seat of modern philosophic thought and culture, the rage of
Anti-Semitism broke out and spread with fatal ease and potency. In
Berlin itself tumults and riots were threatened. We in America could
scarcely comprehend the situation or credit the reports, and for a while
we shut our eyes and ears to the facts; but we were soon rudely awakened
from our insensibility, and forced to face the truth. It was in England
that the voice was first raised in behalf of justice and humanity.
In January, 1881, there appeared in the "London Times" a series of
articles, carefully compiled on the testimony of eye-witnesses, and
confirmed by official documents, records, etc., giving an account of
events that had been taking place in southern and western Russia during
a period of nine months, between April and December of 1880. We do
not need to recall the sickening details. The headings will suffice:
outrage, murder, arson, and pillage, and the result,--100,000 Jewish
families made homeless and destitute, and nearly $100,000,000 worth of
property destroyed. Nor need we recall the generous outburst of sympathy
and indignation from America. "It is not that it is the oppression
of Jews by Russia," said Mr. Evarts in the meeting at Chickering Hall
Wednesday evening, February 4; "it is that it is the oppression of men
and women, and we are men and women." So spoke civilized Christendom,
and for Judaism,--who can describe that thrill of brotherhood, quickened
anew, the immortal pledge of the race, made one again through sorrow?
For Emma Lazarus it was a trumpet call that awoke slumbering and
unguessed echoes. All this time she had been seeking heroic ideals in
alien stock, soulless and far removed; in pagan mythology and mystic,
mediaeval Christianity, ignoring her very birthright,--the majestic
vista of the past, down which, "high above flood and fire," had been
conveyed the precious scroll of the Moral Law. Hitherto Judaism had been
a dead letter to her. Of Portuguese descent, her family had always been
members of the oldest and most orthodox congregation of New York, where
strict adherence to custom and ceremonial was the watchword of faith;
but it was only during her childhood and earliest years that she
attended the synagogue, and conformed to the prescribed rites and usages
which she had now long since abandoned as obsolete and having no bearing
on modern life. Nor had she any great enthusiasm for her own people. As
late as April, 1882, she published in "The Century Magazine" an
article written probably some months before, entitled "Was the Earl of
Beaconsfield a Representative Jew?" in which she is disposed to accept
as the type of the modern Jew the brilliant, successful, but not
over-scrupulous chevalier d'industrie. In view of subsequent, or rather
contemporaneous events, the closing paragraph of the article in question
is worthy of being cited:--


    "Thus far their religion [the Jewish], whose mere preservation
    under such adverse conditions seems little short of a miracle,
    has been deprived of the natural means of development and
    progress, and has remained a stationary force.  The next
    hundred years will, in our opinion be the test of their
    vitality as a people; the phase of toleration upon which
    they are only now entering will prove whether or not they
    are capable of growth."


By a curious, almost fateful juxtaposition, in the same number of the
magazine appeared Madame Ragozin's defense of Russian barbarity, and in
the following (May) number Emma Lazarus's impassioned appeal and reply,
"Russian Christianity versus Modern Judaism." From this time dated the
crusade that she undertook in behalf of her race, and the consequent
expansion of all her faculties, the growth of spiritual power which
always ensues when a great cause is espoused and a strong conviction
enters the soul. Her verse rang out as it had never rung before,--a
clarion note, calling a people to heroic action and unity, to the
consciousness and fulfillment of a grand destiny. When has Judaism been
so stirred as by "The Crowing of the Red Cock" and


                      THE BANNER OF THE JEW.

              Wake, Israel, wake!  Recall to-day
              The glorious Maccabean rage,
              The sire heroic, hoary-gray,
              His five-fold lion-lineage;
              The Wise, the Elect, the Help-of-God,
              The Burst-of-Spring, the Avenging Rod.


              From Mizpeh's mountain ridge they saw
              Jerusalem's empty streets; her shrine
              Laid waste where Greeks profaned the Law
              With idol and with pagan sign.
              Mourners in tattered black were there
              With ashes sprinkled on their hair.


              Then from the stony peak there rang
              A blast to ope the graves; down poured
              The Maccabean clan, who sang
              Their battle anthem to the Lord.
              Five heroes lead, and following, see
              Ten thousand rush to victory!


              Oh for Jerusalem's trumpet now,
              To blow a blast of shattering power,
              To wake the sleeper high and low,
              And rouse them to the urgent hour!
              No hand for vengeance, but to save,
              A million naked swords should wave.


              Oh, deem not dead that martial fire,
              Say not the mystic flame is spent!
              With Moses' law and David's lyre,
              Your ancient strength remains unbent.
              Let but an Ezra rise anew,
              To lift the BANNER OF THE JEW!


              A rag, a mock at first,--erelong
              When men have bled and women wept,
              To guard its precious folds from wrong,
              Even they who shrunk, even they who slept,
              Shall leap to bless it and to save.
              Strike! for the brave revere the brave!


The dead forms burst their bonds and lived again. She sings "Rosh
Hashanah" (the Jewish New Year) and "Hanuckah (the Feast of Lights):--


        "Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
         Ablaze on Evening's forehead o'er the earth,
         And add each night a lustre till afar
         An eight-fold splendor shine above thy hearth.
         Clash, Israel, the cymbals, touch the lyre,
         Blow the brass trumpet and the harsh-tongued horn;
         Chant psalms of victory till the heart take fire,
         The Maccabean spirit leap new-born."


  And "The New Ezekiel:"--


        "What! can these dead bones live, whose sap is dried
         By twenty scorching centuries of wrong?
         Is this the House of Israel whose pride
         Is as a tale that's told, an ancient song?
         Are these ignoble relics all that live
         Of psalmist, priest, and prophet?  Can the breath
         Of very heaven bid these bones revive,
         Open the graves, and clothe the ribs of death?
         Yea, Prophesy, the Lord hath said again:
         Say to the wind, come forth and breathe afresh,
         Even that they may live, upon these slain,
         And bone to bone shall leap, and flesh to flesh.
         The spirit is not dead, proclaim the word.
         Where lay dead bones a host of armed men stand!
         I ope your graves, my people, saith the Lord,
         And I shall place you living in your land."


Her whole being renewed and refreshed itself at its very source. She
threw herself into the study of her race, its language, literature, and
history.

Breaking the outward crust, she pierced to the heart of the faith and
"the miracle" of its survival. What was it other than the ever-present,
ever-vivifying spirit itself, which cannot die,--the religious and
ethical zeal which fires the whole history of the people, and of which
she herself felt the living glow within her own soul? She had come upon
the secret and the genius of Judaism,--that absolute interpenetration
and transfusion of spirit with body and substance which, taken
literally, often reduces itself to a question of food and drink, a
dietary regulation, and again, in proper splendor, incarnates itself
and shines out before humanity in the prophets, teachers, and saviors of
mankind.

Those were busy, fruitful years for Emma Lazarus, who worked, not with
the pen alone, but in the field of practical and beneficent activity.
For there was an immense task to accomplish. The tide of immigration had
set in, and ship after ship came laden with hunted human beings flying
from their fellow-men, while all the time, like a tocsin, rang the
terrible story of cruelty and persecution,--horrors that the pen refuses
to dwell upon. By the hundreds and thousands they flocked upon our
shores,--helpless, innocent victims of injustice and oppression,
panic-stricken in the midst of strange and utterly new surroundings.

Emma Lazarus came into personal contact with these people, and visited
them in their refuge on Ward Island. While under the influence of all
the emotions aroused by this great crisis in the history of her race,
she wrote the "Dance of Death," a drama of persecution of the twelfth
century, founded upon the authentic records,--unquestionably her finest
work in grasp and scope, and, above all, in moral elevation and purport.
The scene is laid in Nordhausen, a free city in Thuringia, where the
Jews, living, as the deemed, in absolute security and peace, were caught
up in the wave of persecution that swept over Europe at that time.
Accused of poisoning the wells and causing the pestilence, or black
death, as it was called, they were condemned to be burned.

We do not here intend to enter upon a critical or literary analysis of
the play, or to point out dramatic merits or defects, but we should
like to make its readers feel with us the holy ardor and impulse of
the writer and the spiritual import of the work. The action is without
surprise, the doom fixed from the first; but so glowing is the canvas
with local and historic color, so vital and intense the movement, so
resistless, the "internal evidence," if we may call it thus, penetrating
its very substance and form, that we are swept along as by a wave of
human sympathy and grief. In contrast with "The Spagnoletto," how large
is the theme and how all-embracing the catastrophe! In place of the
personal we have the drama of the universal. Love is only a flash
now,--a dream caught sight of and at once renounced at a higher claim.


        "Have you no smile to welcome love with, Liebhaid?
         Why should you tremble?
         Prince, I am afraid!
         Afraid of my own heart, my unfathomed joy,
         A blasphemy against my father's grief,
         My people's agony!


        "What good shall come, forswearing kith and God,
         To follow the allurements of the heart?"


asks the distracted maiden, torn between her love for he princely wooer
and her devotion to the people among whom her lot has been cast.


                                      "O God!
            How shall I pray for strength to love him less
            Than mine own soul!
                                       No more of that,
            I am all Israel's now.  Till this cloud pass,
            I have no thought, no passion, no desire,
            Save for my people."


Individuals perish, but great ideas survive,--fortitude and courage,
and that exalted loyalty and devotion to principle which alone are worth
living and dying for.

The Jews pass by in procession--men, women, and children--on their way
to the flames, to the sound of music, and in festal array, carrying the
gold and silver vessels, the roll of the law, the perpetual lamp and the
seven branched silver candle-stick of the synagogue. The crowd hoot and
jeer at them.


           "The misers! they will take their gems and gold
            Down to the grave!"


                             "Let us rejoice"


sing the Jewish youths in chorus; and the maidens:--


           "Our feet stand within thy gates, O Zion!
             Within thy portals, O Jerusalem!"


The flames rise and dart among them; their garments wave, their jewels
flash, as they dance and sing in the crimson blaze. The music ceases, a
sound of crashing boards is heard and a great cry,--"Hallelujah!" What
a glory and consecration of the martyrdom! Where shall we find a more
triumphant vindication and supreme victory of spirit over matter?


                            "I see, I see,
         How Israel's ever-crescent glory makes
         These flames that would eclipse it dark as blots
         Of candle-light against the blazing sun.
         We die a thousand deaths,--drown, bleed, and burn.
         Our ashes are dispersed unto the winds.
         Yet the wild winds cherish the sacred seed,
         The fire refuseth to consume.

          .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

         Even as we die in honor, from our death
         Shall bloom a myriad heroic lives,
         Brave through our bright example, virtuous
         Lest our great memory fall in disrepute."


The "Dance to Death" was published, along with other poems and
translations from the Hebrew poets of mediaeval Spain, in a small column
entitled "Songs of a Semite." The tragedy was dedicated, "In profound
veneration and respect to the memory of George Eliot, the illustrious
writer who did most among the artists of our day towards elevating and
ennobling the spirit of Jewish nationality."

For this was the idea that had caught the imagination of Emma Lazarus,
--a restored and independent nationality and repatriation in Palestine.
In her article in "The Century" of February, 1883, on the "Jewish
Problem," she says:--


    "I am fully persuaded that all suggested solutions other
    than this are but temporary palliatives.... The idea
    formulated by George Eliot has already sunk into the minds
    of many Jewish enthusiasts, and it germinates with miraculous
    rapidity.  'The idea that I am possessed with,' says Deronda,
    'is that of restoring a political existence to my people;
    making them a nation again, giving them a national centre,
    such as the English have, though they, too, are scattered
    over the face of the globe.  That task which presents itself
    to me as a duty.... I am resolved to devote my life to
    it.  AT THE LEAST, I MAY AWAKEN A MOVEMENT IN OTHER MINDS
    SUCH HAS BEEN AWAKENED IN MY OWN.'  Could the noble
    prophetess who wrote the above words have lived but till
    to-day to see the ever-increasing necessity of adopting her
    inspired counsel,... she would have been herself astonished
    at the flame enkindled by her seed of fire, and the practical
    shape which the movement projected by her poetic vision is
    beginning to assume."


In November of 1882 appeared her first "Epistle to the Hebrews,"--one of
a series of articles written for the "American Hebrew," published weekly
through several months. Addressing herself now to a Jewish audience,
she sets forth without reserve her views and hopes for Judaism,
now passionately holding up the mirror for the shortcomings and
peculiarities of her race. She says:--


    "Every student of the Hebrew language is aware that we have
    in the conjugation of our verbs a mode known as the 'intensive
    voice,' which, by means of an almost imperceptible modification
    of vowel-points, intensifies the meaning of the primitive root.
    A similar significance seems to attach to the Jews themselves
    in connection with the people among whom they dwell.  They are
    the 'intensive form' of any nationality whose language and
    customs they adopt.... Influenced by the same causes, they
    represent the same results; but the deeper lights and shadows
    of the Oriental temperament throw their failings, as well as
    their virtues, into more prominent relief."


In drawing the epistles to a close, February 24, 1883, she thus
summarizes the special objects she has had in view:--


    "My chief aim has been to contribute my mite towards arousing
    that spirit of Jewish enthusiasm which might manifest itself:
    First, in a return to varied pursuits and broad system of
    physical and intellectual education adopted by our ancestors;
    Second, in a more fraternal and practical movement towards
    alleviating the sufferings of oppressed Jews in countries less
    favored than our own; Third, in a closer and wider study of
    Hebrew literature and history and finally, in a truer recognition
    of the large principals of religion, liberty, and law upon
    which Judaism is founded, and which should draw into harmonious
    unity Jews of every shade of opinion."


Her interest in Jewish affairs was at its height when she planned a
visit abroad, which had been a long-cherished dream, and May 15,
1883, she sailed for England, accompanied by a younger sister. We have
difficulty in recognizing the tragic priestess we have been portraying
in the enthusiastic child of travel who seems new-born into a new world.
From the very outset she is in a maze of wonder and delight. At sea she
writes:--


    "Our last day on board ship was a vision of beauty from
    morning till night,--the sea like a mirror and the sky
    dazzling with light.  In the afternoon we passed a ship
    in full sail, near enough to exchange salutes and cheers.
    After tossing about for six days without seeing a human
    being, except those on our vessel, even this was a sensation.
    Then an hour or two before sunset came the great sensation
    of--land!  At first, nothing but a shadow on the far horizon,
    like the ghost of a ship; two or three widely scattered rocks
    which were the promontories of Ireland, and sooner than we
    expected we were steaming along low-lying purple hills."


The journey to Chester gives her "the first glimpse of mellow
England,"--a surprise which is yet no surprise, so well known and
familiar does it appear. Then Chester, with its quaint, picturesque
streets, "like the scene of a Walter Scott novel, the cathedral planted
in greenness, and the clear, gray river where a boatful of scarlet
dragoons goes gliding by." Everything is a picture for her special
benefit. She "drinks in, at every sense, the sights, sounds, and smells,
and the unimaginable beauty of it all." Then the bewilderment of London,
and a whirl of people, sights, and impressions. She was received with
great distinction by the Jews, and many of the leading men among them
warmly advocated her views. But it was not alone from her own people
that she met with exceptional consideration. She had the privilege
of seeing many of the most eminent personages of the day, all of whom
honored her with special and personal regard. There was, no doubt,
something that strongly attracted people to her at this time,--the force
of her intellect at once made itself felt, while at the same time the
unaltered simplicity and modesty of her character, and her readiness and
freshness of enthusiasm, kept her still almost like a child.

She makes a flying visit to Paris, where she happens to be on the 14th
of July, the anniversary of the storming of the Bastile, and of the
beginning of the republic; she drives to Versailles, "that gorgeous
shell of royalty, where the crowd who celebrate the birth of the
republic wander freely through the halls and avenues, and into the most
sacred rooms of the king.... There are ruins on every side in Paris,"
she says; "ruins of the Commune, or the Siege, or the Revolution; it is
terrible--it seems as if the city were seared with fire and blood."

Such was Paris to her then, and she hastens back to her beloved London,
starting from there on the tour through England that has been mapped
out for her. "A Day in Surrey with William Morris," published in "The
Century Magazine," describes her visit to Merton Abbey, the old Norman
monastery, converted into a model factory by the poet-humanitarian,
who himself received her as his guest, conducted her all over the
picturesque building and garden, and explained to her his views of art
and his aims for the people.

She drives through Kent, "where the fields, valleys, and slopes are
garlanded with hops and ablaze with scarlet poppies." Then Canterbury,
Windsor, and Oxford, Stratford, Warwick, the valley of the Wye, Wells,
Exeter, and Salisbury,--cathedral after cathedral. Back to London,
and then north through York, Durham, and Edinburgh, and on the 15th of
September she sails for home. We have merely named the names, for it is
impossible to convey an idea of the delight and importance of this trip,
"a crescendo of enjoyment," as she herself calls it. Long after, in
strange, dark hours of suffering, these pictures of travel arose before
her, vivid and tragic even in their hold and spell upon her.

The winter of 1883-84 was not especially productive. She wrote a few
reminiscences of her journey and occasional poems on the Jewish themes,
which appeared in the "American Hebrew;" but for the most part gave
herself up to quiet retrospect and enjoyment with her friends of the
life she had had a glimpse of, and the experience she had stored,--a
restful, happy period. In August of the same year she was stricken with
a severe and dangerous malady, from which she slowly recovered, only to
go through a terrible ordeal and affliction. Her father's health, which
had long been failing, now broke down completely, and the whole winter
was one long strain of acute anxiety, which culminated in his death,
in March, 1885. The blow was a crushing one for Emma. Truly, the silver
cord was loosed, and the golden bowl broken. Life lost its meaning and
charm. Her father's sympathy and pride in her work had been her chief
incentive and ambition, and had spurred her on when her own confidence
and spirit failed. Never afterwards did she find complete and
spontaneous expression. She decided to go abroad as the best means
of regaining composure and strength and sailed once more in May for
England, where she was welcomed now by the friends she had made, almost
as to another home. She spent the summer very quietly at Richmond,an
ideally beautiful spot in Yorkshire, where she soon felt the beneficial
influence of her peaceful surroundings. "The very air seems to rest one
here," she writes; and inspired by the romantic loveliness of the place,
she even composed the first few chapters of a novel, begun with a good
deal of dash and vigor, but soon abandoned, for she was still struggling
with depression and gloom.

"I have neither ability, energy, nor purpose," she writes. "It is
impossible to do anything, so I am forced to set it aside for the
present; whether to take it up again or not in the future remains to be
seen."

In the autumn she goes on the Continent, visiting the Hague, which
"completely fascinates" her, and where she feels "stronger and more
cheerful" than she has "for many a day." Then Paris, which this time
amazes her "with its splendor and magnificence. All the ghosts of the
Revolution are somehow laid," she writes, and she spends six weeks
here enjoying to the full the gorgeous autumn weather, the sights, the
picture galleries, the bookshops, the whole brilliant panorama of the
life; and early in December she starts for Italy.

And now once more we come upon that keen zest of enjoyment, that
pure desire and delight of the eyes, which are the prerogative of the
poet,--Emma Lazarus was a poet. The beauty of the world,--what a rapture
and intoxication it is, and how it bursts upon her in the very land of
beauty, "where Dante and Petrarch trod!" A magic glow colours it all; no
mere blues and greens anymore, but a splendor of purple and scarlet
and emerald; "each tower, castle, and village shining like a jewel; the
olive, the fig, and at your feet the roses, growing in mid-December."
A day in Pisa seems like a week, so crowded is it with sensations and
unforgettable pictures. Then a month in Florence, which is still more
entrancing with its inexhaustible treasures of beauty and art; and
finally Rome, the climax of it all,--


    "wiping out all other places and impressions, and opening
    a whole new world of sensations.  I am wild with the
    excitement of this tremendous place.  I have been here a
    week, and have seen the Vatican and the Capitoline Museums,
    and the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's, besides the ruins
    on the streets and on the hills, and the graves of Shelley
    and Keats.

    "It is all heart-breaking.  I don't only mean those beautiful
    graves, overgrown with acanthus and violets, but the mutilated
    arches and columns and dumb appealing fragments looming up in
    the glowing sunshine under the Roman blue sky."


True to her old attractions, it is pagan Rome that appeals to her most
strongly,--


    "and the far-away past, that seems so sad and strange and
    near.  I am even out of humor with pictures; a bit of broken
    stone or a  fragment of a bas-relief, or a Corinthian column
    standing out against this lapis-lazuli sky, or a tremendous
    arch, are the only things I can look at for the moment,--
    except the Sistine Chapel, which is as gigantic as the rest,
    and forces itself upon you with equal might."


Already, in February, spring is in the air; "the almond-trees are in
bloom, violets cover the grass, and oh! the divine, the celestial, the
unheard-of beauty of it all!" It is almost a pang for her, "with its
strange mixture of longing and regret and delight," and in the midst
of it she says, "I have to exert all my strength not to lose myself in
morbidness and depression."

Early in March she leaves Rome, consoled with the thought of returning
the following winter. In June she was in England again, and spent the
summer at Malvern. Disease was no doubt already beginning to prey upon
her, for she was oppressed at times by a languor and heaviness amounting
almost to lethargy. When she returned to London, however, in September,
she felt quite well again, and started for another tour in Holland,
which she enjoyed as much as before. She then settled in Paris, to await
the time when she could return to Italy. But she was attacked at once
with grave and alarming symptoms, that betokened a fatal end to her
malady. Entirely ignorant, however, of the danger that threatened her,
she kept up courage and hope, made plans for the journey, and looked
forward to setting out at any moment. But the weeks passed and the
months also; slowly and gradually the hope faded. The journey to Italy
must be given up; she was not in condition to be brought home, and she
reluctantly resigned herself to remain where she was and "convalesce,"
as she confidently believed, in the spring. Once again came the analogy,
which she herself pointed out now, to Heine on his mattress-grave in
Paris. She, too, the last time she went out, dragged herself to the
Louvre, to the feet of the Venus, "the goddess without arms, who could
not help." Only her indomitable will and intense desire to live seemed
to keep her alive. She sunk to a very low ebb, but, as she herself
expressed it, she "seemed to have always one little window looking out
into life," and in the spring she rallied sufficiently to take a few
drives and to sit on the balcony of her apartment. She came back to
life with a feverish sort of thirst and avidity. "No such cure for
pessimism," she says, "as a severe illness; the simplest pleasures are
enough,--to breathe the air and see the sun."

Many plans were made for leaving Paris, but it was finally decided to
risk the ocean voyage and bring her home, and accordingly she sailed
July 23rd, arriving in New York on the last day of that month.

She did not rally after this; and now began her long agony, full of
every kind of suffering, mental and physical. Only her intellect seemed
kindled anew, and none but those who saw her during the last supreme
ordeal can realize that wonderful flash and fire of the spirit before
its extinction. Never did she appear so brilliant. Wasted to a shadow,
and between acute attacks of pain, she talked about art, poetry, the
scenes of travel, of which her brain was so full, and the phases of her
own condition, with an eloquence for which even those who knew her best
were quite unprepared. Every faculty seemed sharpened and every sense
quickened as the "strong deliveress" approached, and the ardent soul was
released from the frame that could no longer contain it.

We cannot restrain a feeling of suddenness and incompleteness and a
natural pang of wonder and regret for a life so richly and so vitally
endowed thus cut off in its prime. But for us it is not fitting to
question or repine, but rather to rejoice in the rare possession that
we hold. What is any life, even the most rounded and complete, but a
fragment and a hint? What Emma Lazarus might have accomplished, had she
been spared, it is idle and even ungrateful to speculate. What she did
accomplish has real and peculiar significance. It is the privilege of
a favored few that every fact and circumstance of their individuality
shall add lustre and value to what they achieve. To be born a Jewess was
a distinction for Emma Lazarus, and she in turn conferred distinction
upon her race. To be born a woman also lends a grace and a subtle
magnetism to her influence. Nowhere is there contradiction or
incongruity. Her works bear the imprint of her character, and her
character of her works; the same directness and honesty, the same limpid
purity of tone, and the same atmosphere of things refined and beautiful.
The vulgar, the false, and the ignoble,--she scarcely comprehended them,
while on every side she was open and ready to take in and respond to
whatever can adorn and enrich life. Literature was no mere "profession"
for her, which shut out other possibilities; it was only a free, wide
horizon and background for culture. She was passionately devoted to
music, which inspired some of her best poems; and during the last years
of her life, in hours of intense physical suffering, she found relief
and consolation in listening to the strains of Bach and Beethoven. When
she went abroad, painting was revealed to her, and she threw herself
with the same ardor and enthusiasm into the study of the great masters;
her last work (left unfinished) was a critical analysis of the genius
and personality of Rembrandt.

And now, at the end, we ask, Has the grave really closed over all these
gifts? Has that eager, passionate striving ceased, and "is the rest
silence?"

Who knows? But would we break, if we could, that repose, that silence
and mystery and peace everlasting?



EPOCHS.

      "The epochs of our life are not in the facts, but in the
         silent thought by the wayside as we walk."--Emerson



                    I. Youth.


     Sweet empty sky of June without a stain,
       Faint, gray-blue dewy mists on far-off hills,
     Warm, yellow sunlight flooding mead and plain,
       That each dark copse and hollow overfills;
       The rippling laugh of unseen, rain-fed rills,
     Weeds delicate-flowered, white and pink and gold,
     A murmur and a singing manifold.


     The gray, austere old earth renews her youth
       With dew-lines, sunshine, gossamer, and haze.
     How still she lies and dreams, and veils the truth,
       While all is fresh as in the early days!
       What simple things be these the soul to raise
     To bounding joy, and make young pulses beat,
     With nameless pleasure finding life so sweet.


     On such a golden morning forth there floats,
       Between the soft earth and the softer sky,
     In the warm air adust with glistening motes,
       The mystic winged and flickering butterfly,
       A human soul, that hovers giddily
     Among the gardens of earth's paradise,
     Nor dreams of fairer fields or loftier skies.



                    II. Regret.


     Thin summer rain on grass and bush and hedge,
       Reddening the road and deepening the green
     On wide, blurred lawn, and in close-tangled sedge;
       Veiling in gray the landscape stretched between
       These low broad meadows and the pale hills seen
     But dimly on the far horizon's edge.


     In these transparent-clouded, gentle skies,
       Wherethrough the moist beams of the soft June sun
     Might any moment break, no sorrow lies,
       No note of grief in swollen brooks that run,
       No hint of woe in this subdued, calm tone
     Of all the prospect unto dreamy eyes.


     Only a tender, unnamed half-regret
       For the lost beauty of the gracious morn;
     A yearning aspiration, fainter yet,
       For brighter suns in joyous days unborn,
       Now while brief showers ruffle grass and corn,
     And all the earth lies shadowed, grave, and wet;


     Space for the happy soul to pause again
       From pure content of all unbroken bliss,
     To dream the future void of grief and pain,
       And muse upon the past, in reveries
       More sweet for knowledge that the present is
     Not all complete, with mist and clouds and rain.



                    III. Longing.


     Look westward o'er the steaming rain-washed slopes,
       Now satisfied with sunshine, and behold
     Those lustrous clouds, as glorious as our hopes,
       Softened with feathery fleece of downy gold,
       In all fantastic, huddled shapes uprolled,
     Floating like dreams, and melting silently,
     In the blue upper regions of pure sky.


     The eye is filled with beauty, and the heart
       Rejoiced with sense of life and peace renewed;
     And yet at such an hour as this, upstart
       Vague myriad longing, restless, unsubdued,
       And causeless tears from melancholy mood,
     Strange discontent with earth's and nature's best,
     Desires and yearnings that may find no rest.



                    IV. Storm.


     Serene was morning with clear, winnowed air,
       But threatening soon the low, blue mass of cloud
     Rose in the west, with mutterings faint and rare
       At first, but waxing frequent and more loud.
       Thick sultry mists the distant hill-tops shroud;
     The sunshine dies; athwart black skies of lead
     Flash noiselessly thin threads of lightning red.


     Breathless the earth seems waiting some wild blow,
       Dreaded, but far too close to ward or shun.
     Scared birds aloft fly aimless, and below
       Naught stirs in fields whence light and life are gone,
       Save floating leaves, with wisps of straw and down,
     Upon the heavy air; 'neath blue-black skies,
     Livid and yellow the green landscape lies.


     And all the while the dreadful thunder breaks,
       Within the hollow circle of the hills,
     With gathering might, that angry echoes wakes,
       And earth and heaven with unused clamor fills.
       O'erhead still flame those strange electric thrills.
     A moment more,--behold! yon bolt struck home,
     And over ruined fields the storm hath come!



                    V. Surprise.


     When the stunned soul can first lift tired eyes
       On her changed world of ruin, waste and wrack,
     Ah, what a pang of aching sharp surprise
       Brings all sweet memories of the lost past back,
     With wild self-pitying grief of one betrayed,
     Duped in a land of dreams where Truth is dead!


     Are these the heavens that she deemed were kind?
       Is this the world that yesterday was fair?
     What painted images of folk half-blind
       Be these who pass her by, as vague as air?
     What go they seeking? there is naught to find.
     Let them come nigh and hearken her despair.


     A mocking lie is all she once believed,
       And where her heart throbbed, is a cold dead stone.
     This is a doom we never preconceived,
       Yet now she cannot fancy it undone.
     Part of herself, part of the whole hard scheme,
     All else is but the shadow of a dream.



                    VI. Grief.


     There is a hungry longing in the soul,
       A craving sense of emptiness and pain,
     She may not satisfy nor yet control,
       For all the teeming world looks void and vain.
     No compensation in eternal spheres,
     She knows the loneliness of all her years.


     There is no comfort looking forth nor back,
       The present gives the lie to all her past.
     Will cruel time restore what she doth lack?
       Why was no shadow of this doom forecast?
     Ah! she hath played with many a keen-edged thing;
     Naught is too small and soft to turn and sting.


     In the unnatural glory of the hour,
       Exalted over time, and death, and fate,
     No earthly task appears beyond her power,
       No possible endurance seemeth great.
     She knows her misery and her majesty,
     And recks not if she be to live or die.



                    VII. Acceptance.


     Yea, she hath looked Truth grimly face to face,
       And drained unto the lees the proffered cup.
     This silence is not patience, nor the grace
       Of recognition, meekly offered up,
     But mere acceptance fraught with keenest pain,
     Seeing that all her struggles must be vain.


     Her future clear and terrible outlies,--
       This burden to be borne through all her days,
     This crown of thorns pressed down above her eyes,
       This weight of trouble she may never raise.
     No reconcilement doth she ask nor wait;
     Knowing such things are, she endures her fate.


     No brave endeavor of the broken will
       To cling to such poor stays as will abide
     (Although the waves be wild and angry still)
       After the lapsing of the swollen tide.
     No fear of further loss, no hope of gain,
     Naught but the apathy of weary pain.



                    VIII. Loneliness.


     All stupor of surprise hath passed away;
       She sees, with clearer vision than before,
     A world far off of light and laughter gay,
       Herself alone and lonely evermore.
     Folk come and go, and reach her in no wise,
     Mere flitting phantoms to her heavy eyes.


     All outward things, that once seemed part of her,
       Fall from her, like the leaves in autumn shed.
     She feels as one embalmed in spice and myrrh,
       With the heart eaten out, a long time dead;
     Unchanged without, the features and the form;
     Within, devoured by the thin red worm.


     By her own prowess she must stand or fall,
       This grief is to be conquered day by day.
     Who could befriend her? who could make this small,
       Or her strength great? she meets it as she may.
     A weary struggle and a constant pain,
     She dreams not they may ever cease nor wane.



                    IX. Sympathy.


     It comes not in such wise as she had deemed,
       Else might she still have clung to her despair.
     More tender, grateful than she could have dreamed,
       Fond hands passed pitying over brows and hair,
       And gentle words borne softly through the air,
     Calming her weary sense and wildered mind,
     By welcome, dear communion with her kind.


     Ah! she forswore all words as empty lies;
       What speech could help, encourage, or repair?
     Yet when she meets these grave, indulgent eyes,
       Fulfilled with pity, simplest words are fair,
       Caressing, meaningless, that do not dare
     To compensate or mend, but merely soothe
     With hopeful visions after bitter Truth.


     One who through conquered trouble had grown wise,
       To read the grief unspoken, unexpressed,
      The misery of the blank and heavy eyes,--
       Or through youth's infinite compassion guessed
       The heavy burden,--such a one brought rest,
     And bade her lay aside her doubts and fears,
     While the hard pain dissolved in blessed tears.



                    X. Patience.


     The passion of despair is quelled at last;
       The cruel sense of undeserved wrong,
     The wild self-pity, these are also past;
       She knows not what may come, but she is strong;
     She feels she hath not aught to lose nor gain,
     Her patience is the essence of all pain.


     As one who sits beside a lapsing stream,
       She sees the flow of changeless day by day,
     Too sick and tired to think, too sad to dream,
       Nor cares how soon the waters slip away,
     Nor where they lead; at the wise God's decree,
     She will depart or bide indifferently.


     There is deeper pathos in the mild
       And settled sorrow of the quiet eyes,
     Than in the tumults of the anguish wild,
       That made her curse all things beneath the skies;
     No question, no reproaches, no complaint,
     Hers is the holy calm of some meek saint.



                    XI. Hope.


     Her languid pulses thrill with sudden hope,
       That will not be forgot nor cast aside,
     And life in statelier vistas seems to ope,
       Illimitably lofty, long, and wide.
     What doth she know?  She is subdued and mild,
     Quiet and docile "as a weaned child."


     If grief came in such unimagined wise,
       How may joy dawn?  In what undreamed-of hour,
     May the light break with splendor of surprise,
       Disclosing all the mercy and the power?
     A baseless hope, yet vivid, keen, and bright,
     As the wild lightning in the starless night.


     She knows not whence it came, nor where it passed,
       But it revealed, in one brief flash of flame,
     A heaven so high, a world so rich and vast,
       That, full of meek contrition and mute shame,
     In patient silence hopefully withdrawn,
     She bows her head, and bides the certain dawn.



                    XII. Compensation.


     'T is not alone that black and yawning void
       That makes her heart ache with this hungry pain,
     But the glad sense of life hath been destroyed,
       The lost delight may never come again.
     Yet myriad serious blessings with grave grace
     Arise on every side to fill their place.


     For much abides in her so lonely life,--
       The dear companionship of her own kind,
     Love where least looked for, quiet after strife,
       Whispers of promise upon every wind,
     A quickened insight, in awakened eyes,
     For the new meaning of the earth and skies.


     The nameless charm about all things hath died,
       Subtle as aureole round a shadow's head,
     Cast on the dewy grass at morning-tide;
       Yet though the glory and the joy be fled,
     'T is much her own endurance to have weighed,
     And wrestled with God's angels, unafraid.



                    XIII. Faith.


     She feels outwearied, as though o'er her head
       A storm of mighty billows broke and passed.
     Whose hand upheld her?  Who her footsteps led
       To this green haven of sweet rest at last?
     What strength was hers, unreckoned and unknown?
     What love sustained when she was most alone?


     Unutterably pathetic her desire,
       To reach, with groping arms outstretched in prayer,
     Something to cling to, to uplift her higher
       From this low world of coward fear and care,
     Above disaster, that her will may be
     At one with God's, accepting his decree.


     Though by no reasons she be justified,
       Yet strangely brave in Evil's very face,
     She deems this want must needs be satisfied,
       Though here all slips from out her weak embrace.
     And in blind ecstasy of perfect faith,
     With her own dream her prayer she answereth.



                    XIV. Work.


     Yet life is not a vision nor a prayer,
       But stubborn work; she may not shun her task.
     After the first compassion, none will spare
       Her portion and her work achieved, to ask.
     She pleads for respite,--she will come ere long
     When, resting by the roadside, she is strong.


     Nay, for the hurrying throng of passers-by
       Will crush her with their onward-rolling stream.
     Much must be done before the brief light die;
       She may not loiter, rapt in the vain dream.
     With unused trembling hands, and faltering feet,
     She staggers forth, her lot assigned to meet.


     But when she fills her days with duties done,
       Strange vigor comes, she is restored to health.
     New aims, new interests rise with each new sun,
       And life still holds for her unbounded wealth.
     All that seemed hard and toilsome now proves small,
     And naught may daunt her,--she hath strength for all.



                    XV. Victory.


     How strange, in some brief interval of rest,
       Backward to look on her far-stretching past.
     To see how much is conquered and repressed,
       How much is gained in victory at last!
     The shadow is not lifted,--but her faith,
     Strong from life's miracles, now turns toward death.


     Though much be dark where once rare splendor shone,
       Yet the new light has touched high peaks unguessed
     In her gold, mist-bathed dawn, and one by one
       New outlooks loom from many a mountain crest.
     She breathes a loftier, purer atmosphere,
     And life's entangled paths grow straight and clear.


     Nor will Death prove an all-unwelcome guest;
       The struggle has been toilsome to this end,
     Sleep will be sweet, and after labor rest,
       And all will be atoned with him to friend.
     Much must be reconciled, much justified,
     And yet she feels she will be satisfied.



                    XVI. Peace.


     The calm outgoing of a long, rich day,
       Checkered with storm and sunshine, gloom and light,
     Now passing in pure, cloudless skies away,
       Withdrawing into silence of blank night.
       Thick shadows settle on the landscape bright,
     Like the weird cloud of death that falls apace
     On the still features of the passive face.


     Soothing and gentle as a mother's kiss,
       The touch that stopped the beating of the heart.
     A look so blissfully serene as this,
       Not all the joy of living could impart.
     With dauntless faith and courage therewithal,
     The Master found her ready at his call.


     On such a golden evening forth there floats,
       Between the grave earth and the glowing sky
     In the clear air, unvexed with hazy motes,
       The mystic-winged and flickering butterfly,
       A human soul, that drifts at liberty,
     Ah! who can tell to what strange paradise,
     To what undreamed-of fields and lofty skies!



                    HOW LONG?


       How long, and yet how long,
     Our leaders will we hail from over seas,
     Master and kings from feudal monarchies,
       And mock their ancient song
     With echoes weak of foreign melodies?


       That distant isle mist-wreathed,
     Mantled in unimaginable green,
     Too long hath been our mistress and our queen.
       Our fathers have bequeathed
     Too deep a love for her, our hearts within.


       She made the whole world ring
     With the brave exploits of her children strong,
     And with the matchless music of her song.
       Too late, too late we cling
     To alien legends, and their strains prolong.


       This fresh young world I see,
     With heroes, cities, legends of her own;
     With a new race of men, and overblown
       By winds from sea to sea,
     Decked with the majesty of every zone.


       I see the glittering tops
     Of snow-peaked mounts, the wid'ning vale's expanse,
     Large prairies where free herds of horses prance,
       Exhaustless wealth of crops,
     In vast, magnificent extravagance.


       These grand, exuberant plains,
     These stately rivers, each with many a mouth,
     The exquisite beauty of the soft-aired south,
       The boundless seas of grains,
     Luxuriant forests' lush and splendid growth.


       The distant siren-song
     Of the green island in the eastern sea,
     Is not the lay for this new chivalry.
       It is not free and strong
     To chant on prairies 'neath this brilliant sky.


       The echo faints and fails;
     It suiteth not, upon this western plain,
     Out voice or spirit; we should stir again
       The wilderness, and make the vales
     Resound unto a yet unheard-of strain.



                    HEROES.


       In rich Virginian woods,
     The scarlet creeper reddens over graves,
     Among the solemn trees enlooped with vines;
     Heroic spirits haunt the solitudes,--
     The noble souls of half a million braves,
       Amid the murmurous pines.


       Ah! who is left behind,
     Earnest and eloquent, sincere and strong,
     To consecrate their memories with words
     Not all unmeet? with fitting dirge and song
     To chant a requiem purer than the wind,
       And sweeter than the birds?


       Here, though all seems at peace,
     The placid, measureless sky serenely fair,
     The laughter of the breeze among the leaves,
     The bars of sunlight slanting through the trees,
     The reckless wild-flowers blooming everywhere,
       The grasses' delicate sheaves,--


       Nathless each breeze that blows,
     Each tree that trembles to its leafy head
     With nervous life, revives within our mind,
     Tender as flowers of May, the thoughts of those
     Who lie beneath the living beauty, dead,--
       Beneath the sunshine, blind.


       For brave dead soldiers, these:
     Blessings and tears of aching thankfulness,
     Soft flowers for the graves in wreaths enwove,
     The odorous lilac of dear memories,
     The heroic blossoms of the wilderness,
       And the rich rose of love.


       But who has sung their praise,
     Not less illustrious, who are living yet?
     Armies of heroes, satisfied to pass
     Calmly, serenely from the whole world's gaze,
     And cheerfully accept, without regret,
       Their old life as it was,


       With all its petty pain,
     Its irritating littleness and care;
     They who have scaled the mountain, with content
     Sublime, descend to live upon the plain;
     Steadfast as though they breathed the mountain-air
       Still, wheresoe'er they went.

       They who were brave to act,
     And rich enough their action to forget;
     Who, having filled their day with chivalry,
     Withdraw and keep their simpleness intact,
     And all unconscious add more lustre yet
       Unto their victory.


       On the broad Western plains
     Their patriarchal life they live anew;
     Hunters as mighty as the men of old,
     Or harvesting the plenteous, yellow grains,
     Gathering ripe vintage of dusk bunches blue,
     Or working mines of gold;


       Or toiling in the town,
     Armed against hindrance, weariness, defeat,
     With dauntless purpose not to serve or yield,
     And calm, defiant, they struggle on,
     As sturdy and as valiant in the street,
       As in the camp and field.


       And those condemned to live,
     Maimed, helpless, lingering still through suffering years,
     May they not envy now the restful sleep
     Of the dear fellow-martyrs they survive?
     Not o'er the dead, but over these, your tears,
       O brothers, ye may weep!


       New England fields I see,
     The lovely, cultured landscape, waving grain,
     Wide haughty rivers, and pale, English skies.
     And lo! a farmer ploughing busily,
     Who lifts a swart face, looks upon the plain,--
       I see, in his frank eyes,


       The hero's soul appear.
     Thus in the common fields and streets they stand;
     The light that on the past and distant gleams,
     They cast upon the present and the near,
     With antique virtues from some mystic land,
       Of knightly deeds and dreams.



ADMETUS.

         To my friend, Ralph Waldo Emerson.


       He who could beard the lion in his lair,
     To bind him for a girl, and tame the boar,
     And drive these beasts before his chariot,
     Might wed Alcestis.  For her low brows' sake,
     Her hairs' soft undulations of warm gold,
     Her eyes clear color and pure virgin mouth,
     Though many would draw bow or shiver spear,
     Yet none dared meet the intolerable eye,
     Or lipless tusk, of lion or boar.
     This heard Admetus, King of Thessaly,
     Whose broad, fat pastures spread their ample fields
     Down to the sheer edge of Amphrysus' stream,
     Who laughed, disdainful, at the father's pride,
     That set such value on one milk-faced child.


       One morning, as he rode alone and passed
     Through the green twilight of Thessalian woods,
     Between two pendulous branches interlocked,
     As through an open casement, he descried
     A goddess, as he deemed,--in truth a maid.
     On a low bank she fondled tenderly
     A favorite hound, her floral face inclined
     above the glossy, graceful animal,
     That pressed his snout against her cheek and gazed
     Wistfully, with his keen, sagacious eyes.
     One arm with lax embrace the neck enwreathed,
     With polished roundness near the sleek, gray skin.
     Admetus, fixed with wonder, dare not pass,
     Intrusive on her holy innocence
     And sacred girlhood, but his fretful steed
     Snuffed the air, and champed and pawed the ground;
     And hearing this, the maiden raised her head.
     No let or hindrance then might stop the king,
     Once having looked upon those supreme eyes.
     The drooping boughs disparting, forth he sped,
     And then drew in his steed, to ask the path,
     Like a lost traveller in an alien land.
     Although each river-cloven vale, with streams
     Arrowy glancing to the blue Aegean,
     Each hallowed mountain, the abode of gods,
     Pelion and Ossa fringed with haunted groves,
     The height, spring-crowned, of dedicate Olympus,
     And pleasant sun-fed vineyards, were to him
     Familiar as his own face in the stream,
     Nathless he paused and asked the maid what path
     Might lead him from the forest.  She replied,
     But still he tarried, and with sportsman's praise
     Admired the hound and stooped to stroke its head,
     And asked her if she hunted.  Nay, not she:
     Her father Pelias hunted in these woods,
     Where there was royal game.  He knew her now,--
     Alcestis,--and he left her with due thanks:
     No goddess, but a mortal, to be won
     By such a simple feat as driving boars
     And lions to his chariot.  What was that
     To him who saw the boar of Calydon,
     The sacred boar of Artemis, at bay
     In the broad stagnant marsh, and sent his darts
     In its tough, quivering flank, and saw its death,
     Stung by sure arrows of Arcadian nymph?


       To river-pastures of his flocks and herds
     Admetus rode, where sweet-breathed cattle grazed,
     Heifers and goats and kids, and foolish sheep
     Dotted cool, spacious meadows with bent heads,
     And necks' soft wool broken in yellow flakes,
     Nibbling sharp-toothed the rich, thick-growing blades.
     One herdsman kept the innumerable droves--
     A boy yet, young as immortality--
     In listless posture on a vine-grown rock.
     Around him huddled kids and sheep that left
     The mother's udder for his nighest grass,
     Which sprouted with fresh verdure where he sat.
     And yet dull neighboring rustics never guessed
     A god had been among them till he went,
     Although with him they acted as he willed,
     Renouncing shepherds' silly pranks and quips,
     Because his very presence made them grave.
     Amphryssius, after their translucent stream,
     They called him, but Admetus knew his name,--
     Hyperion, god of sun and song and silver speech,
     Condemned to serve a mortal for his sin
     To Zeus in sending violent darts of death,
     A raising hand irreverent, against
     The one-eyed forgers of the thunderbolt.
     For shepherd's crook he held the living rod
     Of twisted serpents, later Hermes' wand.
     Him sought the king, discovering soon hard by,
     Idle as one in nowise bound to time,
     Watching the restless grasses blow and wave,
     The sparkle of the sun upon the stream,
     Regretting nothing, living with the hour:
     For him, who had his light and song within,
     Was naught that did not shine, and all things sang.
     Admetus prayed for his celestial aid
     To win Alcestis, which the god vouchsafed,
     Granting with smiles, as grant all gods, who smite
     With stern hand, sparing not for piteousness,
     But give their gifts in gladness.


                                        Thus the king
     Led with loose rein the beasts as tame as kine,
     And townsfolk thronged within the city streets,
     As round a god; and mothers showed their babes,
     And maidens loved the crowned intrepid youth,
     And men aloud worship, though the very god
     Who wrought the wonder dwelled unnoted nigh,
     Divinely scornful of neglect or praise.
     Then Pelias, seeing this would be his son,
     As he had vowed, called for his wife and child.
     With Anaxibia, Alcestis came,
     A warm flush spreading o'er her eager face
     In looking on the rider of the woods,
     And knowing him her suitor and the king.


       Admetus won Alcestis thus to wife,
     And these with mated hearts and mutual love
     Lived a life blameless, beautiful: the king
     Ordaining justice in the gates; the queen,
     With grateful offerings to the household gods,
     Wise with the wisdom of the pure in heart.
     One child she bore,--Eumelus,--and he throve.
     Yet none the less because they sacrificed
     The firstlings of their flocks and fruits and flowers,
     Did trouble come; for sickness seized the king.
     Alcestis watched with many-handed love,
     But unavailing service, for he lay
     With languid limbs, despite his ancient strength
     Of sinew, and his skill with spear and sword.
     His mother came, Clymene, and with her
     His father, Pheres: his unconscious child
     They brought him, while forlorn Alcestis sat
     Discouraged, with the face of desolation.
     The jealous gods would bind his mouth from speech,
     And smite his vigorous frame with impotence;
     And ruin with bitter ashes, worms, and dust,
     The beauty of his crowned, exalted head.
     He knew her presence,--soon he would not know,
     Nor feel her hand in his lie warm and close,
     Nor care if she were near him any more.
     Exhausted with long vigils, thus the queen
     Held hard and grievous thoughts, till heavy sleep
     Possessed her weary sense, and she dreamed.
     And even in her dream her trouble lived,
     For she was praying in a barren field
     To all the gods for help, when came across
     The waste of air and land, from distant skies,
     A spiritual voice divinely clear,
     Whose unimaginable sweetness thrilled
     Her aching heart with tremor of strange joy:
     "Arise, Alcestis, cast away white fear.
     A god dwells with you: seek, and you shall find."
     Then quiet satisfaction filled her soul
     Almost akin to gladness, and she woke.
     Weak as the dead, Admetus lay there still;
     But she, superb with confidence, arose,
     And passed beyond the mourners' curious eyes,
     Seeking Amphryssius in the meadow-lands.
     She found him with the godlike mien of one
     Who, roused, awakens unto deeds divine:
     "I come, Hyperion, with incessant tears,
     To crave the life of my dear lord the king.
     Pity me, for I see the future years
     Widowed and laden with disastrous days.
     And ye, the gods, will miss him when the fires
     Upon your shrines, unfed, neglected die.
     Who will pour large libations in your names,
     And sacrifice with generous piety?
     Silence and apathy will greet you there
     Where once a splendid spirit offered praise.
     Grant me this boon divine, and I will beat
     With prayer at morning's gates, before they ope
     Unto thy silver-hoofed and flame-eyed steeds.
     Answer ere yet the irremeable stream
     Be crossed: answer, O god, and save!"
                                        She ceased,
     With full throat salt with tears, and looked on him,
     And with a sudden cry of awe fell prone,
     For, lo! he was transmuted to a god;
     The supreme aureole radiant round his brow,
     Divine refulgences on his face,--his eyes
     Awful with splendor, and his august head
     With blinding brilliance crowned by vivid flame.
     Then in a voice that charmed the listening air:
     "Woman, arise! I have no influence
     On Death, who is the servant of the Fates.
     Howbeit for thy passion and thy prayer,
     The grace of thy fair womanhood and youth,
     Thus godlike will I intercede for thee,
     And sue the insatiate sisters for this life.
     Yet hope not blindly: loth are these to change
     Their purpose; neither will they freely give,
     But haggling lend or sell: perchance the price
     Will counterveil the boon.  Consider this.
     Now rise and look upon me."  And she rose,
     But by her stood no godhead bathed in light,
     But young Amphryssius, herdsman to the king,
     Benignly smiling.
                         Fleet as thought, the god
     Fled from the glittering earth to blackest depths
     Of Tartarus; and none might say he sped
     On wings ambrosial, or with feet as swift
     As scouring hail, or airy chariot
     Borne by the flame-breathing steeds ethereal;
     But with a motion inconceivable
     Departed and was there.  Before the throne
     Of Ades, first he hailed the long-sought queen,
     Stolen with violent hands from grassy fields
     And delicate airs of sunlit Sicily,
     Pensive, gold-haired, but innocent-eyed no more
     As when she laughing plucked the daffodils,
     But grave as on fulfilling a strange doom.
     And low at Ades' feet, wrapped in grim murk
     And darkness thick, the three gray women sat,
     Loose-robed and chapleted with wool and flowers,
     Purple narcissi round their horrid hair.
     Intent upon her task, the first one held
     The tender thread that at a touch would snap;
     The second weaving it with warp and woof
     Into strange textures, some stained dark and foul,
     Some sanguine-colored, and some black as night,
     And rare ones white, or with a golden thread
     Running throughout the web: the farthest hag
     With glistening scissors cut her sisters' work.
     To these Hyperion, but they never ceased,
     Nor raised their eyes, till with soft, moderate tones,
     But by their powerful persuasiveness
     Commanding all to listen and obey,
     He spoke, and all hell heard, and these three looked
     And waited his request:
                                  I come, a god,
     At pure mortal queen's request, who sues
     For life renewed unto her dying lord,
     Admetus; and I also pray this prayer."
     "Then cease, for when hath Fate been moved by prayer?"
     "But strength and upright heart should serve with you."
     "I ask ye not forever to forbear,
     But spare a while,--a moment unto us,
     A lifetime unto men."  "The Fates swerve not
     For supplications, like the pliant gods.
     Have they not willed a life's thread should be cut?
     With them the will is changeless as the deed.
     O men! ye have not learned in all the past,
     Desires are barren and tears yield no fruit.
     How long will ye besiege the thrones of gods
     With lamentations?  When lagged Death for all
     Your timorous shirking?  We work not like you,
     Delaying and relenting, purposeless,
     With unenduring issues; but our deeds,
     Forever interchained and interlocked,
     Complete each other and explain themselves."
     "Ye will a life: then why not any life?"
     "What care we for the king?  He is not worth
     These many words; indeed, we love not speech.
     We care not if he live, or lose such life
     As men are greedy for,--filled full with hate,
     Sins beneath scorn, and only lit by dreams,
     Or one sane moment, or a useless hope,--
     Lasting how long?--the space between the green
     And fading yellow of the grass they tread."
     But he withdrawing not: "Will any life
     Suffice ye for Admetus?"  "Yea," the crones
     Three times repeated.  "We know no such names
     As king or queen or slave: we want but life.
     Begone, and vex us in our work no more."


       With broken blessings, inarticulate joy
     And tears, Alcestis thanked Hyperion,
     And worshipped.  Then he gently: "Who will die,
     So that the king may live?"  And she: "You ask?
     Nay, who will live when life clasps hands with shame,
     And death with honor?  Lo, you are a god;
     You cannot know the highest joy of life,--
     To leave it when 't is worthier to die.
     His parents, kinsmen, courtiers, subjects, slaves,--
     For love of him myself would die, were none
     Found ready; but what Greek would stand to see
     A woman glorified, and falter?  Once,
     And only once, the gods will do this thing
     In all the ages: such a man themselves
     Delight to honor,--holy, temperate, chaste,
     With reverence for his daemon and his god."
     Thus she triumphant to they very door
     Of King Admetus' chamber.  All there saw
     Her ill-timed gladness with much wonderment.
     But she: "No longer mourn!  The king is saved:
     The Fates will spare him.  Lift your voice in praise;
     Sing paeans to Apollo; crown your brows
     With laurel; offer thankful sacrifice!"
     "O Queen, what mean these foolish words misplaced?
     And what an hour is this to thank the Fates?"
     "Thrice blessed be the gods!--for God himself
     Has sued for me,--they are not stern and deaf.
     Cry, and they answer: commune with your soul,
     And they send counsel: weep with rainy grief,
     And these will sweeten you your bitterest tears.
     On one condition King Admetus lives,
     And ye, on hearing, will lament no more,
     Each emulous to save."  Then--for she spake
     Assured, as having heard an oracle--
     They asked: "What deed of ours may serve the king?"
     "The Fates accept another life for his,
     And one of you may die."  Smiling, she ceased.
     But silence answered her.  "What! do ye thrust
     Your arrows in your hearts beneath your cloaks,
     Dying like Greeks, too proud to own the pang?
     This ask I not.  In all the populous land
     But one need suffer for immortal praise.
     The generous Fates have sent no pestilence,
     Famine, nor war: it is as though they gave
     Freely, and only make the boon more rich
     By such slight payment.  Now a people mourns,
     And ye may change the grief to jubilee,
     Filling the cities with a pleasant sound.
     But as for me, what faltering words can tell
     My joy, in extreme sharpness kin to pain?
     A monument you have within my heart,
     Wreathed with kind love and dear remembrances;
     And I will pray for you before I crave
     Pardon and pity for myself from God.
     Your name will be the highest in the land,
     Oftenest, fondest on my grateful lips,
     After the name of him you die to save.
     What! silent still?  Since when has virtue grown
     Less beautiful than indolence and ease?
     Is death more terrible, more hateworthy,
     More bitter than dishonor?  Will ye live
     On shame?  Chew and find sweet its poisoned fruits?
     What sons will ye bring forth--mean-souled like you,
     Or, like your parents, brave--to blush like girls,
     And say,'Our fathers were afraid to die!'
     Ye will not dare to raise heroic eyes
     Unto the eyes of aliens.  In the streets
     Will women and young children point at you
     Scornfully, and the sun will find you shamed,
     And night refuse to shield you.  What a life
     Is this ye spin and fashion for yourselves!
     And what new tortures of suspense and doubt
     Will death invent for such as are afraid!
     Acastus, thou my brother, in the field
     Foremost, who greeted me with sanguine hands
     From ruddy battle with a conqueror's face,--
     These honors wilt thou blot with infamy?
     Nay, thou hast won no honors: a mere girl
     Would do as much as thou at such a time,
     In clamorous battle,'midst tumultuous sounds,
     Neighing of war-steeds, shouts of sharp command,
     Snapping of shivered spears; for all are brave
     When all men look to them expectantly;
     But he is truly brave who faces death
     Within his chamber, at a sudden call,
     At night, when no man sees,--content to die
     When life can serve no longer those he loves."
     Then thus Acastus: "Sister, I fear not
     Death, nor the empty darkness of the grave,
     And hold my life but as a little thing,
     Subject unto my people's call, and Fate.
     But if 't is little, no greater is the king's;
     And though my heart bleeds sorely, I recall
     Astydamia, who thus would mourn for me.
     We are not cowards, we youth of Thessaly,
     And Thessaly--yea, all Greece--knoweth it;
     Nor will we brook the name from even you,
     Albeit a queen, and uttering these wild words
     Through your umwonted sorrow."  Then she knew
     That he stood firm, and turning from him, cried
     To the king's parents: "Are ye deaf with grief,
     Pheres, Clymene?  Ye can save your son,
     Yet rather stand and weep with barren tears.
     O, shame! to think that such gray, reverend hairs
     Should cover such unvenerable heads!
     What would ye lose?--a remnant of mere life,
     A few slight raveled threads, and give him years
     To fill with glory.  Who, when he is gone,
     Will call you gentlest names this side of heaven,--
     Father and mother?  Knew ye not this man
     Ere he was royal,--a poor, helpless child,
     Crownless and kingdomless?  One birth alone
     Sufficeth not, Clymene: once again
     You must give life with travail and strong pain.
     Has he not lived to outstrip your swift hopes?
     What mother can refuse a second birth
     To such a son?  But ye denying him,
     What after-offering may appease the gods?
     What joy outweigh the grief of this one day?
     What clamor drown the hours' myriad tongues,
     Crying, 'Your son, your son? where is your son,
     Unnatural mother, timid foolish man?"
     Then Pheres gravely: "These are graceless words
     From you our daughter.  Life is always life,
     And death comes soon enough to such as we.
     We twain are old and weak, have served our time,
     And made our sacrifices.  Let the young
     Arise now in their turn and save the king."
     "O gods! look on your creatures! do ye see?
     And seeing, have ye patience?  Smite them all,
     Unsparing, with dishonorable death.
     Vile slaves! a woman teaches you to die.
     Intrepid, with exalted steadfast soul,
     Scorn in my heart, and love unutterable,
     I yield the Fates my life, and like a god
     Command them to revere that sacred head.
     Thus kiss I thrice the dear, blind, holy eyes,
     And bid them see; and thrice I kiss this brow,
     And thus unfasten I the pale, proud lips
     With fruitful kissings, bringing love and life,
     And without fear or any pang, I breathe
     My soul in him."
                          "Alcestis, I awake.
     I hear, I hear--unspeak thy reckless words!
     For, lo! thy life-blood tingles in my veins,
     And streameth through my body like new wine.
     Behold! thy spirit dedicate revives
     My pulse, and through thy sacrifice I breathe.
     Thy lips are bloodless: kiss me not again.
     Ashen thy cheeks, faded thy flower-like hands.
     O woman! perfect in thy womanhood
     And in thy wifehood, I adjure thee now
     As mother, by the love thou bearest our child,
     In this thy hour of passion and of love,
     Of sacrifice and sorrow, to unsay
     Thy words sublime!"  "I die that thou mayest live."
     "And deemest thou that I accept the boon,
     Craven, like these my subjects?  Lo, my queen,
     Is life itself a lovely thing,--bare life?
     And empty breath a thing desirable?
     Or is it rather happiness and love
     That make it precious to its inmost core?
     When these are lost, are there not swords in Greece,
     And flame and poison, deadly waves and plagues?
     No man has ever lacked these things and gone
     Unsatisfied.  It is not these the gods refuse
     (Nay, never clutch my sleeve and raise thy lip),--
     Not these I seek; but I will stab myself,
     Poison my life and burn my flesh, with words,
     And save or follow thee.  Lo! hearken now:
     I bid the gods take back their loathsome gifts:
     O spurn them, and I scorn them, and I hate.
     Will they prove deaf to this as to my prayers?
     With tongue reviling, blasphemous, I curse,
     With mouth polluted from deliberate heart.
     Dishonored be their names, scorned be their priests,
     Ruined their altars, mocked their oracles!
     It is Admetus, King of Thessaly,
     Defaming thus: annihilate him, gods!
     So that his queen, who worships you, may live."
     He paused as one expectant; but no bolt
     From the insulted heavens answered him,
     But awful silence followed.  Then a hand,
     A boyish hand, upon his shoulder fell,
     And turning, he beheld his shepherd boy,
     Not wrathful, but divinely pitiful,
     Who spake in tender, thrilling tones: "The gods
     Cannot recall their gifts.  Blaspheme them not:
     Bow down and worship rather.  Shall he curse
     Who sees not, and who hears not,--neither knows
     Nor understands?  Nay, thou shalt bless and pray,--
     Pray, for the pure heart purged by prayer, divines
     And seeth when the bolder eyes are blind.
     Worship and wonder,--these befit a man
     At every hour; and mayhap will the gods
     Yet work a miracle for knees that bend
     And hands that supplicate."
                                   Then all they knew
     A sudden sense of awe, and bowed their heads
     Beneath the stripling's gaze: Admetus fell,
     Crushed by that gentle touch, and cried aloud:
     "Pardon and pity! I am hard beset."



               ______________________



       There waited at the doorway of the king
     One grim and ghastly, shadowy, horrible,
     Bearing the likeness of a king himself,
     Erect as one who serveth not,--upon
     His head a crown, within his fleshless hands
     A sceptre,--monstrous, winged, intolerable.
     To him a stranger coming 'neath the trees,
     Which slid down flakes of light, now on his hair,
     Close-curled, now on his bared and brawny chest,
     Now on his flexile, vine-like veined limbs,
     With iron network of strong muscle thewed,
     And godlike brows and proud mouth unrelaxed.
     Firm was his step; no superfluity
     Of indolent flesh impeded this man's strength.
     Slender and supple every perfect limb,
     Beautiful with the glory of a man.
     No weapons bare he, neither shield: his hands
     Folded upon his breast, his movements free
     Of all incumbrance.  When his mighty strides
     Had brought him nigh the waiting one, he paused:
     "Whose palace this? and who art thou, grim shade?"
     "The palace of the King of Thessaly,
     And my name is not strange unto thine ears;
     For who hath told men that I wait for them,
     The one sure thing on earth?  Yet all they know,
     Unasking and yet answered.  I am Death,
     The only secret that the gods reveal.
     But who are thou who darest question me?"
     "Alcides; and that thing I dare not do
     Hath found no name.  Whom here awaitest thou?"
     "Alcestis, Queen of Thessaly,--a queen
     Who wooed me as the bridegroom woos the bride,
     For her life sacrificed will save her lord
     Admetus, as the Fates decreed.  I wait
     Impatient, eager; and I enter soon,
     With darkening wing, invisible, a god,
     And kiss her lips, and kiss her throbbing heart,
     And then the tenderest hands can do no more
     Than close her eyes and wipe her cold, white brow,
     Inurn her ashes and strew flowers above."
     "This woman is a god, a hero, Death.
     In this her sacrifice I see a soul
     Luminous, starry: earth can spare her not:
     It is not rich enough in purity
     To lose this paragon.  Save her, O Death!
     Thou surely art more gentle than the Fates,
     Yet these have spared her lord, and never meant
     That she should suffer, and that this their grace,
     Beautiful, royal on one side, should turn
     Sudden and show a fearful, fatal face."
     "Nay, have they not?  O fond and foolish man,
     Naught comes unlooked for, unforeseen by them.
     Doubt when they favor thee, though thou mayest laugh
     When they have scourged thee with an iron scourge.
     Behold, their smile is deadlier than their sting,
     And every boon of theirs is double-faced.
     Yea, I am gentler unto ye than these:
     I slay relentless, but when have I mocked
     With poisoned gifts, and generous hands that smite
     Under the flowers? for my name is Truth.
     Were this fair queen more fair, more pure, more chaste,
     I would not spare her for your wildest prayer
     Nor her best virtue.  Is the earth's mouth full?
     Is the grave satisfied?  Discrown me then,
     For life is lord, and men may mock the gods
     With immortality."  "I sue no more,
     But I command thee spare this woman's life,
     Or wrestle with Alcides."  "Wrestle with thee,
     Thou puny boy!"  And Death laughed loud, and swelled
     To monstrous bulk, fierce-eyed, with outstretched wings,
     And lightnings round his brow; but grave and firm,
     Strong as a tower, Alcides waited him,
     And these began to wrestle, and a cloud
     Impenetrable fell, and all was dark.



              ______________________



       "Farewell, Admetus and my little son,
     Eumelus,--O these clinging baby hands!
     Thy loss is bitter, for no chance, no fame,
     No wealth of love, can ever compensate
     for a dead mother.  Thou, O king, fulfill
     The double duty: love him with my love,
     And make him bold to wrestle, shiver spears,
     Noble and manly, Grecian to the bone;
     And tell him that his mother spake with gods.
     Farewell, farewell!  Mine eyes are growing blind:
     The darkness gathers.  O my heart, my heart!"
     No sound made answer save the cries of grief
     From all the mourners, and the suppliance
     Of strick'n Admetus: "O have mercy, gods!
     O gods, have mercy, mercy upon us!"
     Then from the dying woman's couch again
     Her voice was heard, but with strange sudden tones:
     "Lo, I awake--the light comes back to me.
     What miracle is this?"  And thunders shook
     The air, and clouds of mighty darkness fell,
     And the earth trembled, and weird, horrid sounds
     Were heard of rushing wings and fleeing feet,
     And groans; and all were silent, dumb with awe,
     Saving the king, who paused not in his prayer:
     "Have mercy, gods!" and then again, "O gods,
     Have mercy!"


                   Through the open casement poured
     Bright floods of sunny light; the air was soft,
     Clear, delicate as though a summer storm
     Had passed away; and those there standing saw,
     Afar upon the plain, Death fleeing thence,
     And at the doorway, weary, well-nigh spent,
     Alcides, flushed with victory.



TANNHAUSER.

              To my mother.  May, 1870.


     The Landgrave Hermann held a gathering
     Of minstrels, minnesingers, troubadours,
     At Wartburg in his palace, and the knight,
     Sir Tannhauser of France, the greatest bard,
     Inspired with heavenly visions, and endowed
     With apprehension and rare utterance
     Of noble music, fared in thoughtful wise
     Across the Horsel meadows.  Full of light,
     And large repose, the peaceful valley lay,
     In the late splendor of the afternoon,
     And level sunbeams lit the serious face
     Of the young knight, who journeyed to the west,
     Towards the precipitous and rugged cliffs,
     Scarred, grim, and torn with savage rifts and chasms,
     That in the distance loomed as soft and fair
     And purple as their shadows on the grass.
     The tinkling chimes ran out athwart the air,
     Proclaiming sunset, ushering evening in,
     Although the sky yet glowed with yellow light.
     The ploughboy, ere he led his cattle home,
     In the near meadow, reverently knelt,
     And doffed his cap, and duly crossed his breast,
     Whispering his "Ave Mary," as he heard
     The pealing vesper-bell.  But still the knight,
     Unmindful of the sacred hour announced,
     Disdainful or unconscious, held his course.
     "Would that I also, like yon stupid wight,
     Could kneel and hail the Virgin and believe!"
     He murmured bitterly beneath his breath.
     "Were I a pagan, riding to contend
     For the Olympic wreath, O with what zeal,
     What fire of inspiration, would I sing
     The praises of the gods!  How may my lyre
     Glorify these whose very life I doubt?
     The world is governed by one cruel God,
     Who brings a sword, not peace.  A pallid Christ,
     Unnatural, perfect, and a virgin cold,
     They give us for a heaven of living gods,
     Beautiful, loving, whose mere names were song;
     A creed of suffering and despair, walled in
     On every side by brazen boundaries,
     That limit the soul's vision and her hope
     To a red hell or and unpeopled heaven.
     Yea, I am lost already,--even now
     Am doomed to flaming torture for my thoughts.
     O gods! O gods! where shall my soul find peace?"
     He raised his wan face to the faded skies,
     Now shadowing into twilight; no response
     Came from their sunless heights; no miracle,
     As in the ancient days of answering gods.
     With a long, shuddering sigh he glanced to earth,
     Finding himself among the Horsel cliffs.
     Gray, sullen, gaunt, they towered on either side;
     Scant shrubs sucked meagre life between the rifts
     Of their huge crags, and made small darker spots
     Upon their wrinkled sides; the jaded horse
     Stumbled upon loose, rattling, fallen stones,
     Amidst the gathering dusk, and blindly fared
     Through the weird, perilous pass.  As darkness waxed,
     And an oppressive mystery enwrapped
     The roadstead and the rocks, Sir Tannhauser
     Fancied he saw upon the mountain-side
     The fluttering of white raiment.  With a sense
     Of wild joy and horror, he gave pause,
     For his sagacious horse that reeked of sweat,
     Trembling in every limb, confirmed his thought,
     That nothing human scaled that haunted cliff.
     The white thing seemed descending,--now a cloud
     It looked, and now a rag of drifted mist,
     Torn in the jagged gorge precipitous,
     And now an apparition clad in white,
     Shapely and real,--then he lost it quite,
     Gazing on nothing with blank, foolish face.
     As with wide eyes he stood, he was aware
     Of a strange splendor at his very side,
     A presence and a majesty so great,
     That ere he saw, he felt it was divine.
     He turned, and, leaping from his horse, fell prone,
     In speechless adoration, on the earth,
     Before the matchless goddess, who appeared
     With no less freshness of immortal youth
     Than when first risen from foam of Paphian seas.
     He heard delicious strains of melody,
     Such as his highest muse had ne'er attained,
     Float in the air, while in the distance rang,
     Harsh and discordant, jarring with those tones,
     The gallop of his frightened horse's hoofs,
     Clattering in sudden freedom down the pass.
     A voice that made all music dissonance
     Then thrilled through heart and flesh of that prone knight,
     Triumphantly: "The gods need but appear,
     And their usurped thrones are theirs again!"
     Then tenderly: "Sweet knight, I pray thee, rise;
     Worship me not, for I desire thy love.
     Look on me, follow me, for I am fain
     Of thy fair, human face."  He rose and looked,
     Stirred by that heavenly flattery to the soul.
     Her hair, unbraided and unfilleted,
     Rained in a glittering shower to the ground,
     And cast forth lustre.  Round her zone was clasped
     The scintillant cestus, stiff with flaming gold,
     Thicker with restless gems than heaven with stars.
     She might have flung the enchanted wonder forth;
     Her eyes, her slightest gesture would suffice
     To bind all men in blissful slavery.
     She sprang upon the mountain's dangerous side,
     With feet that left their print in flowers divine,--
     Flushed amaryllis and blue hyacinth,
     Impurpled amaranth and asphodel,
     Dewy with nectar, and exhaling scents
     Richer than all the roses of mid-June.
     The knight sped after her, with wild eyes fixed
     Upon her brightness, as she lightly leapt
     From crag to crag, with flying auburn hair,
     Like a gold cloud, that lured him ever on,
     Higher and higher up the haunted cliff.
     At last amidst a grove of pines she paused,
     Until he reached her, breathing hard with haste,
     Delight, and wonder.  Then upon his hand
     She placed her own, and all his blood at once
     Tingled and hotly rushed to brow and cheek,
     At the supreme caress; but the mere touch
     Infused fresh life, and when she looked at him
     With gracious tenderness, he felt himself
     Strong suddenly to bear the blinding light
     Of those great eyes.  "Dear knight," she murmured low,
     "For love of me, wilt thou accord this boon,--
     To grace my weary home in banishment?"
     His hungry eyes gave answer ere he spoke,
     In tones abrupt that startled his own ears
     With their strange harshness; but with thanks profuse
     She guided him, still holding his cold hand
     In her warm, dainty palm, unto a cave,
     Whence a rare glory issued, and a smell
     Of spice and roses, frankincense and balm.
     They entering stood within a marble hall,
     With straight, slim pillars, at whose farther end
     The goddess led him to a spiral flight
     Of stairs, descending always 'midst black gloom
     Into the very bowels of the earth.
     Down these, with fearful swiftness, they made way,
     The knight's feet touching not the solid stair,
     But sliding down as in a vexing dream,
     Blind, feeling but that hand divine that still
     Empowered him to walk on empty air.
     Then he was dazzled by a sudden blaze,
     In vast palace filled with reveling folk.
     Cunningly pictured on the ivory walls
     Were rolling hills, cool lakes, and boscage green,
     And all the summer landscape's various pomp.
     The precious canopy aloft was carved
     In semblance of the pleached forest trees,
     Enameled with the liveliest green, wherethrough
     A light pierced, more resplendent than the day.
     O'er the pale, polished jasper of the floor
     Of burnished metal, fretted and embossed
     With all the marvelous story of her birth
     Painted in prodigal splendor of rich tincts,
     And carved by heavenly artists,--crystal seas,
     And long-haired Nereids in their pearly shells,
     And all the wonder of her lucent limbs
     Sphered in a vermeil mist.  Upon the throne
     She took her seat, the knight beside her still,
     Singing on couches of fresh asphodel,
     And the dance ceased, and the flushed revelers came
     In glittering phalanx to adore their queen.
     Beautiful girls, with shining delicate heads,
     Crested with living jewels, fanned the air
     With flickering wings from naked shoulders soft.
     Then with preluding low, a thousand harps,
     And citherns, and strange nameless instruments,
     Sent through the fragrant air sweet symphonies,
     And the winged dancers waved in mazy rounds,
     With changing lustres like a summer sea.
     Fair boys, with charming yellow hair crisp-curled,
     And frail, effeminate beauty, the knight saw,
     But of strong, stalwart men like him were none.
     He gazed thereon bewitched, until the hand
     Of Venus, erst withdrawn, now fell again
     Upon his own, and roused him from his trance.
     He looked on her, and as he looked, a cloud
     Auroral, flaming as at sunrising,
     Arose from nothing, floating over them
     In luminous folds, like that vermilion mist
     Penciled upon the throne, and as it waxed
     In density and brightness, all the throng
     Of festal dancers, less and less distinct,
     Grew like pale spirits in a vague, dim dream,
     And vanished altogether; and these twain,
     Shut from the world in that ambrosial cloud,
     Now with a glory inconceivable,
     Vivid and conflagrant, looked each on each.


       All hours came laden with their own delights
     In that enchanted place, wherein Time
     Knew no divisions harsh of night and day,
     But light was always, and desire of sleep
     Was satisfied at once with slumber soft,
     Desire of food with magical repast,
     By unseen hands on golden tables spread.
     But these the knight accepted like a god,
     All less was lost in that excess of joy,
     The crowning marvel of her love for him,
     Assuring him of his divinity.
     Meanwhile remembrance of the earth appeared
     Like the vague trouble of a transient dream,--
     The doubt, the scruples, the remorse for thoughts
     Beyond his own control, the constant thirst
     For something fairer than his life, more real
     Than airy revelations of his Muse.
     Here was his soul's desire satisfied.
     All nobler passions died; his lyre he flung
     Recklessly forth, with vows to dedicate
     His being to herself.  She knew and seized
     The moment of her mastery, and conveyed
     The lyre beyond his sight and memory.
     With blandishment divine she changed for him,
     Each hour, her mood; a very woman now,
     Fantastic, voluble, affectionate,
     And jealous of the vague, unbodied air,
     Exacting, penitent, and pacified,
     All in a breath.  And often she appeared
     Majestic with celestial wrath, with eyes
     That shot forth fire, and a heavy brow,
     Portentous as the lowering front of heaven,
     When the reverberant, sullen thunder rolls
     Among the echoing clouds.  Thus she denounced
     Her ancient, fickle worshippers, who left
     Her altars desecrate, her fires unfed,
     Her name forgotten.  "But I reign, I reign!"
     She would shrill forth, triumphant; "yea, I reign.
     Men name me not, but worship me unnamed,
     Beauty and Love within their heart of hearts;
     Not with bent knees and empty breath of words,
     But with devoted sacrifice of lives."
     Then melting in a moment, she would weep
     Ambrosial tears, pathetic, full of guile,
     Accusing her own base ingratitude,
     In craving worship, when she had his heart,
     Her priceless knight, her peerless paladin,
     Her Tannhauser; then, with an artful glance
     Of lovely helplessness, entreated him
     Not to desert her, like the faithless world,
     For these unbeautiful and barbarous gods,
     Or she would never cease her prayers to Jove,
     Until he took from her the heavy curse
     Of immortality.  With closer vows,
     The knight then sealed his worship and forswore
     All other aims and deeds to serve her cause.
     Thus passed unnoted seven barren years
     Of reckless passion and voluptuous sloth,
     Undignified by any lofty thought
     In his degraded mind, that sometime was
     Endowed with noble capability.
     From revelry to revelry he passed,
     Craving more pungent pleasure momently,
     And new intoxications, and each hour
     The siren goddess answered his desires.
     Once when she left him with a weary sense
     Of utter lassitude, he sat alone,
     And, raising listless eyes, he saw himself
     In a great burnished mirror, wrought about
     With cunning imagery of twisted vines.
     He scarcely knew those sunken, red-rimmed eyes,
     For his who in the flush of manhood rode
     Among the cliffs, and followed up the crags
     The flying temptress; and there fell on him
     A horror of her beauty, a disgust
     For his degenerate and corrupted life,
     With irresistible, intense desire,
     To feel the breath of heaven on his face.
     Then as Fate willed, who rules above the gods,
     He saw, within the glass, behind him glide
     The form of Venus.  Certain of her power,
     She had laid by, in fond security,
     The enchanted cestus, and Sir Tannhauser,
     With surfeited regard, beheld her now,
     No fairer than the women of the earth,
     Whom with serenity and health he left,
     Duped by a lovely witch.  Before he moved,
     She knew her destiny; and when he turned,
     He seemed to drop a mask, disclosing thus
     An alien face, and eyes with vision true,
     That for long time with glamour had been blind.
     Hiding the hideous rage within her breast,
     With girlish simpleness of folded hands,
     Auroral blushes, and sweet, shamefast mien,
     She spoke: "Behold, my love, I have cast forth
     All magic, blandishments and sorcery,
     For I have dreamed a dream so terrible,
     That I awoke to find my pillow stained
     With tears as of real woe.  I thought my belt,
     By Vulcan wrought with matchless skill and power,
     Was the sole bond between us; this being doffed,
     I seemed to thee an old, unlovely crone,
     Wrinkled by every year that I have seen.
     Thou turnedst from me with a brutal sneer,
     So that I woke with weeping.  Then I rose,
     And drew the glittering girdle from my zone,
     Jealous thereof, yet full of fears, and said,
     'If it be this he loves, then let him go!
     I have no solace as a mortal hath,
     No hope of change or death to comfort me
     Through all eternity; yet he is free,
     Though I could hold him fast with heavy chains,
     Bound in perpetual imprisonment.'
     Tell me my vision was a baseless dream;
     See, I am kneeling, and kiss thy hands,--
     In pity, look on me, before thy word
     Condemns me to immortal misery!"
     As she looked down, the infernal influence
     Worked on his soul again; for she was fair
     Beyond imagination, and her brow
     Seemed luminous with high self-sacrifice.
     He bent and kissed her head, warm, shining, soft,
     With its close-curling gold, and love revived.

     But ere he spoke, he heard the distant sound
     Of one sweet, smitten lyre, and a gleam
     Of violent anger flashed across the face
     Upraised to his in feigned simplicity
     And singleness of purpose.  Then he sprang,
     Well-nigh a god himself, with sudden strength
     to vanquish and resist, beyond her reach,
     Crying, "My old Muse calls me, and I hear!
     Thy fateful vision is no baseless dream;
     I will be gone from this accursed hall!"
     Then she, too, rose, dilating over him,
     And sullen clouds veiled all her rosy limbs,
     Unto her girdle, and her head appeared
     Refulgent, and her voice rang wrathfully:
     "Have I cajoled and flattered thee till now,
     To lose thee thus!  How wilt thou make escape?
     ONCE BEING MINE THOU ART FOREVER MINE:
     Yea, not my love, but my poor slave and fool."
     But he, with both hands pressed upon his eyes,
     Against that blinding lustre, heeded not
     Her thundered words, and cried in sharp despair,
     "Help me, O Virgin Mary! and thereat,
     The very bases of the hall gave way,
     The roof was rived, the goddess disappeared,
     And Tannhauser stood free upon the cliff,
     Amidst the morning sunshine and fresh air.


       Around him were the tumbled blocks and crags,
     Huge ridges and sharp juts of flinty peaks,
     Black caves, and masses of the grim, bald rock.
     The ethereal, unfathomable sky,
     Hung over him, the valley lay beneath,
     Dotted with yellow hayricks, that exhaled
     Sweet, healthy odors to the mountain-top.
     He breathed intoxicate the infinite air,
     And plucked the heather blossoms where they blew,
     Reckless with light and dew, in crannies green,
     And scarcely saw their darling bells for tears.
     No sounds of labor reached him from the farms
     And hamlets trim, nor from the furrowed glebe;
     But a serene and sabbath stillness reigned,
     Till broken by the faint, melodious chimes
     Of the small village church that called to prayer.
     He hurried down the rugged, scarped cliff,
     And swung himself from shelving granite slopes
     To narrow foot-holds, near wide-throated chasms,
     Tearing against the sharp stones his bleeding hands,
     With long hair flying from his dripping brow,
     Uncovered head, and white, exalted face.
     No memory had he of his smooth ascent,
     No thought of fear upon those dreadful hills;
     He only heard the bell, inviting him
     To satisfy the craving of his heart,
     For worship 'midst his fellow men.  He reached
     The beaten, dusty road, and passed thereon
     The pious peasants faring towards the church,
     And scarce refrained from greeting them like friends
     Dearly beloved, after long absence met.
     How more than fair the sunburnt wenches looked,
     In their rough, homespun gowns and coifs demure,
     After the beauty of bare, rosy limbs,
     And odorous, loose hair!  He noted not
     Suspicious glances on his garb uncouth,
     His air extravagant and face distraught,
     With bursts of laughter from the red-cheeked boys,
     And prudent crossings of the women's breasts.
     He passed the flowering close about the church,
     And trod the well worn-path, with throbbing heart,
     The little heather-bell between his lips,
     And his eyes fastened on the good green grass.
     Thus entered he the sanctuary, lit
     With frequent tapers, and with sunbeams stained
     Through painted glass.  How pure and innocent
     The waiting congregation seemed to him,
     Kneeling, or seated with calm brows upraised!
     With faltering strength, he cowered down alone,
     And held sincere communion with the Lord,
     For one brief moment, in a sudden gush
     Of blessed tears.  The minister of God
     Rose to invoke a blessing on his flock,
     And then began the service,--not in words
     To raise the lowly, and to heal the sick,
     But an alien tongue, with phrases formed,
     And meaningless observances.  The knight,
     Unmoved, yet thirsting for the simple word
     That might have moved him, held his bitter thoughts,
     But when in his own speech a new priest spake,
     Looked up with hope revived, and heard the text:
     "Go, preach the Gospel unto all the world.
     He that believes and is baptized, is saved.
     He that believeth not, is damned in hell!"
     He sat with neck thrust forth and staring eyes;
     The crowded congregation disappeared;
     He felt alone in some black sea of hell,
     While a great light smote one exalted face,
     Vivid already with prophetic fire,
     Whose fatal mouth now thundered forth his doom.
     He longed in that void circle to cry out,
     With one clear shriek, but sense and voice seemed bound,
     And his parched tongue clave useless to his mouth.
     As the last words resounded through the church,
     And once again the pastor blessed his flock,
     Who, serious and subdued, passed slowly down
     The arrow aisle, none noted, near the wall,
     A fallen man with face upon his knees,
     A heap of huddled garments and loose hair,
     Unconscious 'mid the rustling, murmurous stir,
     'Midst light and rural smell of grass and flowers,
     Let in athwart the doorway.  One lone priest,
     Darkening the altar lights, moved noiselessly,
     Now with the yellow glow upon his face,
     Now a black shadow gliding farther on,
     Amidst the smooth, slim pillars of hewn ash.
     But from the vacant aisles he heard at once
     A hollow sigh, heaved from a depth profound.
     Upholding his last light above his head,
     And peering eagerly amidst the stalls,
     He cried, "Be blest who cometh in God's name."
     Then the gaunt form of Tannhauser arose.
     "Father, I am a sinner, and I seek
     Forgiveness and help, by whatso means
     I can regain the joy of peace with God."
     "The Lord hath mercy on the penitent.
     'Although thy sins be scarlet,' He hath said,
     'Will I not make them white as wool?'  Confess,
     And I will shrive you."  Thus the good priest moved
     Towards the remorseful knight and pressed his hand.
     But shrinking down, he drew his fingers back
     From the kind palm, and kissed the friar's feet.
     "Thy pure hand is anointed, and can heal.
     The cool, calm pressure brings back sanity,
     And what serene, past joys! yet touch me not,
     My contact is pollution,--hear, O hear,
     While I disburden my charged soul."  He lay,
     Casting about for words and strength to speak.
     "O father, is there help for such a one,"
     In tones of deep abasement he began,
     "Who hath rebelled against the laws of God,
     With pride no less presumptuous than his
     Who lost thereby his rank in heaven?"  "My son,
     There is atonement for all sins,--or slight
     Or difficult, proportioned to the crime.
     Though this may be the staining of thy hands
     With blood of kinsmen or of fellow-men."
     "My hands are white,--my crime hath found no name,
     This side of hell; yet though my heart-strings snap
     To live it over, let me make the attempt.
     I was a knight and bard, with such a gift
     Of revelation that no hour of life
     Lacked beauty and adornment, in myself
     The seat and centre of all happiness.
     What inspiration could my lofty Muse
     Draw from those common and familiar themes,
     Painted upon the windows and the walls
     Of every church,--the mother and her child,
     The miracle and mystery of the birth,
     The death, the resurrection?  Fool and blind!
     That saw not symbols of eternal truth
     In that grand tragedy and victory,
     Significant and infinite as life.
     What tortures did my skeptic soul endure,
     At war against herself and all mankind!
     The restless nights of feverish sleeplessness,
     With balancing of reasons nicely weighed;
     The dawn that brought no hope nor energy,
     The blasphemous arraignment of the Lord,
     Taxing His glorious divinity
     With all the grief and folly of the world.
     Then came relapses into abject fear,
     And hollow prayer and praise from craven heart.
     Before a sculptured Venus I would kneel,
     Crown her with flowers, worship her, and cry,
     'O large and noble type of our ideal,
     At least my heart and prayer return to thee,
     Amidst a faithless world of proselytes.
     Madonna Mary, with her virgin lips,
     And eyes that look perpetual reproach,
     Insults and is a blasphemy on youth.
     Is she to claim the worship of a man
     Hot with the first rich flush of ripened life?'
     Realities, like phantoms, glided by,
     Unnoted 'midst the torment and delights
     Of my conflicting spirit, and I doffed
     the modest Christian weeds of charity
     And fit humility, and steeled myself
     In pagan panoply of stoicism
     And self-sufficing pride.  Yet constantly
     I gained men's charmed attention and applause,
     With the wild strains I smote from out my lyre,
     To me the native language of my soul,
     To them attractive and miraculous,
     As all things whose solution and whose source
     Remain a mystery.  Then came suddenly
     The summons to attend the gathering
     Of minstrels at the Landgrave Hermann's court.
     Resolved to publish there my pagan creed
     In harmonies so high and beautiful
     That all the world would share my zeal and faith,
     I journeyed towards the haunted Horsel cliffs.
     O God! how may I tell you how SHE came,
     The temptress of a hundred centuries,
     Yet fresh as April?  She bewitched my sense,
     Poisoned my judgment with sweet flatteries,
     And for I may not guess how many years
     Held me a captive in degrading bonds.
     There is no sin of lust so lewd and foul,
     Which I learned not in that alluring hell,
     Until this morn, I snapped the ignoble tie,
     By calling on the Mother of our Lord.
     O for the power to stand again erect,
     And look men in the eyes!  What penitence,
     What scourging of the flesh, what rigid fasts,
     What terrible privations may suffice
     To cleanse me in the sight of God and man?"
     Ill-omened silence followed his appeal.
     Patient and motionless he lay awhile,
     Then sprang unto his feet with sudden force,
     Confronting in his breathless vehemence,
     With palpitating heart, the timid priest.
     "Answer me, as you hope for a response,
     One day, at the great judgment seat yourself."
     "I cannot answer," said the timid priest,
     "I have not understood."  "Just God! is this
     The curse Thou layest upon me?  I outstrip
     The sympathy and brotherhood of men,
     So far removed is my experience
     From their clean innocence.  Inspire me,
     Prompt me to words that bring me near to them!
     Father," in gentler accents he resumed,
     "Thank Heaven at your every orison
     That sin like mine you cannot apprehend.
     More than the truth perchance I have confessed,
     But I have sinned, and darkly,--this is true;
     And I have suffered, and am suffering now.
     Is there no help in your great Christian creed
     Of liberal charity, for such a one?"
     "My son," the priest replied, "your speech distraught
     Hath quite bewildered me.  I fain would hope
     That Christ's large charity can reach your sin,
     But I know naught.  I cannot but believe
     That the enchantress who first tempted you
     Must be the Evil one,--your early doubt
     Was the possession of your soul by him.
     Travel across the mountain to the town,
     The first cathedral town upon the road
     That leads to Rome,--a sage and reverend priest,
     The Bishop Adrian, bides there.  Say you have come
     From his leal servant, Friar Lodovick;
     He hath vast lore and great authority,
     And may absolve you freely of your sin."


       Over the rolling hills, through summer fields,
     By noisy villages and lonely lanes,
     Through glowing days, when all the landscape stretched
     Shimmering in the heat, a pilgrim fared
     Towards the cathedral town.  Sir Tannhauser
     Had donned the mournful sackcloth, girt his loins
     With a coarse rope that ate into his flesh,
     Muffled a cowl about his shaven head,
     Hung a great leaden cross around his neck;
     And bearing in his hands a knotty staff,
     With swollen, sandaled feet he held his course.
     He snatched scant rest at twilight or at dawn,
     When his forced travel was least difficult.
     But most he journeyed when the sky, o'ercast,
     Uprolled its threatening clouds of dusky blue,
     And angry thunder grumbled through the hills,
     And earth grew dark at noonday, till the flash
     Of the thin lightning through the wide sky leapt.
     And tumbling showers scoured along the plain.
     Then folk who saw the pilgrim penitent,
     Drenched, weird, and hastening as as to some strange doom,
     Swore that the wandering Jew had crossed their land,
     And the Lord Christ had sent the deadly bolt
     Harmless upon his cursed, immortal head.
     At length the hill-side city's spires and roofs,
     With all its western windows smitten red
     By a rich sunset, and with massive towers
     Of its cathedral overtopping all,
     greeted his sight.  Some weary paces more,
     And as the twilight deepened in the streets,
     He stood within the minster.  How serene,
     In sculptured calm of centuries, it seemed!
     How cool and spacious all the dim-lit aisles,
     Still hazy with fumes of frankincense!
     The vesper had been said, yet here and there
     A wrinkled beldam, or mourner veiled,
     Or burly burgher on the cold floor knelt,
     And still the organist, with wandering hands,
     Drew from the keys mysterious melodies,
     And filled the church with flying waifs of song,
     That with ethereal beauty moved the soul
     To a more tender prayer and gentler faith
     Than choral anthems and the solemn mass.
     A thousand memories, sweet to bitterness,
     Rushed on the knight and filled his eyes with tears;
     Youth's blamelessness and faith forever lost,
     The love of his neglected lyre, his art,
     Revived by these aerial harmonies.
     He was unworthy now to touch the strings,
     Too base to stir men's soul to ecstasy
     And high resolves, as in the days agone;
     And yet, with all his spirit's earnestness,
     He yearned to feel the lyre between his hands,
     To utter all the trouble of his life
     Unto the Muse who understands and helps.
     Outworn with travel, soothed to drowsiness
     By dying music and sweet-scented air,
     His limbs relaxed, and sleep possessed his frame.
     Auroral light the eastern oriels touched,
     When with delicious sense of rest he woke,
     Amidst the cast and silent empty aisles.
     "God's peace hath fallen upon me in this place;
     This is my Bethel; here I feel again
     A holy calm, if not of innocence,
     Yet purest after that, the calm serene
     Of expiation and forgiveness."
     He spake, and passed with staff and wallet forth
     Through the tall portal to the open square,
     And turning, paused to look upon the pile.
     The northern front against the crystal sky
     Loomed dark and heavy, full of sombre shade,
     With each projecting buttress, carven cross,
     Gable and mullion, tipped with laughing light
     By the slant sunbeams of the risen morn.
     The noisy swallows wheeled above their nests,
     Builded in hidden nooks about the porch.
     No human life was stirring in the square,
     Save now and then a rumbling market-team,
     Fresh from the fields and farms without the town.
     He knelt upon the broad cathedral steps,
     And kissed the moistened stone, while overhead
     The circling swallows sang, and all around
     The mighty city lay asleep and still.


       To stranger's ears must yet again be made
     The terrible confession; yet again
     A deathly chill, with something worse than fear,
     Seized the knight's heart, who knew his every word
     Widened the gulf between his kind and him.
     The Bishop sat with pomp of mitred head,
     In pride of proven virtue, hearkening to all
     With cold, official apathy, nor made
     A sign of pity nor encouragement.
     The friar understood the pilgrim's grief,
     The language of his eyes; his speech alone
     Was alien to these kind, untutored ears.
     But this was truly to be misconstrued,
     To tear each palpitating word alive
     From out the depths of his remorseful soul,
     And have it weighed with the precision cool
     And the nice logic of a reasoning mind.
     This spiritual Father judged his crime
     As the mad mischief of a reckless boy,
     That call for strict, immediate punishment.
     But Tannhauser, who felt himself a man,
     Though base, yet fallen through passions and rare gifts
     Of an exuberant nature rankly rich,
     And knew his weary head was growing gray
     With a life's terrible experience,
     Found his old sense of proper worth revive;
     But modestly he ended: "Yet I felt,
     O holy Father, in the church, this morn,
     A strange security, a peace serene,
     As though e'en yet the Lord regarded me
     With merciful compassion; yea, as though
     Even so vile a worm as I might work
     Mine own salvation, through repentant prayers."
     "Presumptuous man, it is no easy task
     To expiate such sin; a space of prayer
     That deprecates the anger of the Lord,
     A pilgrimage through pleasant summer lands,
     May not atone for years of impious lust;
     Thy heart hath lied to thee in offering hope."
     "Is there no hope on earth?" the pilgrim sighed.
     "None through thy penance," said the saintly man.
     "Yet there may be through mediation, help.
     There is a man who by a blameless life
     Hath won the right to intercede with God.
     No sins of his own flesh hath he to purge,--
     The Cardinal Filippo,--he abides,
     Within the Holy City.  Seek him out;
     This is my only counsel,--through thyself
     Can be no help and no forgiveness."


       How different from the buoyant joy of morn
     Was this discouraged sense of lassitude,
     The Bishop's words were ringing in his ears,
     Measured and pitiless, and blent with these,
     The memory of the goddess' last wild cry,--
     "ONCE BEING MINE, THOU ART FOREVER MINE."
     Was it the truth, despite his penitence,
     And the dedication of his thought to God,
     That still some portion of himself was hers,
     Some lust survived, some criminal regret,
     For her corrupted love?  He searched his heart:
     All was remorse, religious and sincere,
     And yet her dreadful curse still haunted him;
     For all men shunned him, and denied him help,
     Knowing at once in looking on his face,
     Ploughed with deep lines and prematurely old,
     That he had struggled with some deadly fiend,
     And that he was no longer kin to them.
     Just past the outskirts of the town, he stopped,
     To strengthen will and courage to proceed.
     The storm had broken o'er the sultry streets,
     But now the lessening clouds were flying east,
     And though the gentle shower still wet his face,
     The west was cloudless while the sun went down,
     And the bright seven-colored arch stood forth,
     Against the opposite dull gray.  There was
     A beauty in the mingled storm and peace,
     Beyond clear sunshine, as the vast, green fields
     Basked in soft light, though glistening yet with rain.
     The roar of all the town was now a buzz
     Less than the insects' drowsy murmuring
     That whirred their gauzy wings around his head.
     The breeze that follows on the sunsetting
     Was blowing whiffs of bruised and dripping grass
     Into the heated city.  But he stood,
     Disconsolate with thoughts of fate and sin,
     Still wrestling with his soul to win it back
     From her who claimed it to eternity.
     Then on the delicate air there came to him
     The intonation of the minster bells,
     Chiming the vespers, musical and faint.
     He knew not what of dear and beautiful
     There was in those familiar peals, that spake
     Of his first boyhood and his innocence,
     Leading him back, with gracious influence,
     To pleasant thoughts and tender memories,
     And last, recalling the fair hour of hope
     He passed that morning in the church.  Again,
     The glad assurance of God's boundless love
     Filled all his being, and he rose serene,
     And journeyed forward with a calm content.


       Southward he wended, and the landscape took
     A warmer tone, the sky a richer light.
     The gardens of the graceful, festooned with hops,
     With their slight tendrils binding pole to pole,
     Gave place to orchards and the trellised grape,
     The hedges were enwreathed with trailing vines,
     With clustering, shapely bunches, 'midst the growth
     Of tangled greenery.  The elm and ash
     Less frequent grew than cactus, cypresses,
     And golden-fruited or large-blossomed trees.
     The far hills took the hue of the dove's breast,
     Veiled in gray mist of olive groves.  No more
     He passed dark, moated strongholds of grim knights,
     But terraces with marble-paven steps,
     With fountains leaping in the sunny air,
     And hanging gardens full of sumptuous bloom.
     Then cloisters guarded by their dead gray walls,
     Where now and then a golden globe of fruit
     Or full-flushed flower peered out upon the road,
     Nodding against the stone, and where he heard
     Sometimes the voices of the chanting monks,
     Sometimes the laugh of children at their play,
     Amidst the quaint, old gardens.  But these sights
     Were in the suburbs of the wealthy towns.
     For many a day through wildernesses rank,
     Or marshy, feverous meadow-lands he fared,
     The fierce sun smiting his close-muffled head;
     Or 'midst the Alpine gorges faced the storm,
     That drave adown the gullies melted snow
     And clattering boulders from the mountain-tops.
     At times, between the mountains and the sea
     Fair prospects opened, with the boundless stretch
     Of restless, tideless water by his side,
     And their long wash upon the yellow sand.
     Beneath this generous sky the country-folk
     Could lead a freer life,--the fat, green fields
     Offered rich pasturage, athwart the air
     Rang tinkling cow-bells and the shepherds' pipes.
     The knight met many a strolling troubadour,
     Bearing his cithern, flute, or dulcimer;
     And oft beneath some castle's balcony,
     At night, he heard their mellow voices rise,
     Blent with stringed instruments or tambourines,
     Chanting some lay as natural as a bird's.
     Then Nature stole with healthy influence
     Into his thoughts; his love of beauty woke,
     His Muse inspired dreams as in the past.
     But after this came crueler remorse,
     And he would tighten round his loins the rope,
     And lie for hours beside some wayside cross,
     And feel himself unworthy to enjoy
     The splendid gift and privilege of life.
     Then forth he hurried, spurred by his desire
     To reach the City of the Seven Hills,
     And gain his absolution.  Some leagues more
     Would bring him to the vast Campagna land,
     When by a roadside well he paused to rest.
     'T was noon, and reapers in the field hard by
     Lay neath the trees upon the sun-scorched grass.
     But from their midst one came towards the well,
     Not trudging like a man forespent with toil,
     But frisking like a child at holiday,
     With light steps.  The pilgrim watched him come,
     And found him scarcely older than a child,
     A large-mouthed earthen pitcher in his hand,
     And a guitar upon his shoulder slung.
     A wide straw hat threw all his face in shade,
     But doffing this, to catch whatever breeze
     Might stir among the branches, he disclosed
     A charming head of rippled, auburn hair,
     A frank, fair face, as lovely as a girls,
     With great, soft eyes, as mild and grave as kine's.
     Above his head he slipped the instrument,
     And laid it with his hat upon the turf,
     Lowered his pitcher down the well-head cool,
     And drew it dripping upward, ere he saw
     The watchful pilgrim, craving (as he thought)
     The precious draught.  "Your pardon, holy sir,
     Drink first," he cried, "before I take the jar
     Unto my father in the reaping-field."
     Touched by the cordial kindness of the lad,
     The pilgrim answered,--"Thanks, my thirst is quenched
     From mine own palm."  The stranger deftly poised
     The brimming pitcher on his head, and turned
     Back to the reaping-folk, while Tannhauser
     Looked after him across the sunny fields,
     Clasping each hand about his waist to bear
     The balanced pitcher; then, down glancing, found
     The lad's guitar near by, and fell at once
     To striking its tuned string with wandering hands,
     And pensive eyes filled full of tender dreams.
     "Yea, holy sir, it is a worthless thing,
     And yet I love it, for I make it speak."
     The boy again stood by him and dispelled
     His train of fantasies half sweet, half sad.
     "That was not in my thought," the knight replied.
     "Its worth is more than rubies; whoso hath
     The art to make this speak is raised thereby
     Above all loneliness or grief or fear."
     More to himself than to the lad he spake,
     Who, understanding not, stood doubtfully
     At a loss for answer; but the knight went on:
     "How came it in your hands, and who hath tuned
     your voice to follow it."  "I am unskilled,
     Good father, but my mother smote its strings
     To music rare."  Diverted from one theme,
     Pleased with the winsome candor of the boy,
     The knight encouraged him to confidence;
     Then his own gift of minstrelsy revealed,
     And told bright tales of his first wanderings,
     When in lords' castles and kings' palaces
     Men still made place for him, for in his land
     The gift was rare and valued at its worth,
     And brought great victory and sounding fame.
     Thus, in retracing all his pleasant youth,
     His suffering passed as though it had not been.
     Wide-eyed and open-mouthed the boy gave ear,
     His fair face flushing with the sudden thoughts
     That went and came,--then, as the pilgrim ceased,
     Drew breath and spake: "And where now is your lyre?"
     The knight with both hands hid his changed, white face,
     Crying aloud, "Lost! lost! forever lost!"
     Then, gathering strength, he bared his face again
     Unto the frightened, wondering boy, and rose
     With hasty fear.  "Ah, child, you bring me back
     Unwitting to remembrance of my grief,
     For which I donned eternal garb of woe;
     And yet I owe you thanks for one sweet hour
     Of healthy human intercourse and peace.
     'T is not for me to tarry by the way.
     Farewell!"  The impetuous, remorseful boy,
     Seeing sharp pain on that kind countenance,
     Fell at his feet and cried, "Forgive my words,
     Witless but innocent, and leave me not
     Without a blessing."  Moved unutterably,
     The pilgrim kissed with trembling lips his head,
     And muttered, "At this moment would to God
     That I were worthy!"  Then waved wasted hands
     Over the youth in act of blessing him,
     But faltered, "Cleanse me through his innocence,
     O heavenly Father!" and with quickening steps
     Hastened away upon the road to Rome.
     The noon was past, the reapers drew broad swaths
     With scythes sun-smitten 'midst the ripened crop.
     Thin shadows of the afternoon slept soft
     On the green meadows as the knight passed forth.


       He trudged amidst the sea of poisonous flowers
     On the Campagna's undulating plain,
     With Rome, the many-steepled, many-towered,
     Before him regnant on her throne of hills.
     A thick blue cloud of haze o'erhung the town,
     But the fast-sinking sun struck fiery light
     From shining crosses, roofs, and flashing domes.
     Across his path an arching bridge of stone
     Was raised above a shrunken yellow stream,
     Hurrying with the light on every wave
     Towards the great town and outward to the sea.
     Upon the bridge's crest he paused, and leaned
     Against the barrier, throwing back his cowl,
     And gazed upon the dull, unlovely flood
     That was the Tiber.  Quaggy banks lay bare,
     Muddy and miry, glittering in the sun,
     And myriad insects hovered o'er the reeds,
     Whose lithe, moist tips by listless airs were stirred.
     When the low sun had dropped behind the hills,
     He found himself within the streets of Rome,
     Walking as in a sleep, where naught seemed real.
     The chattering hubbub of the market-place
     Was over now; but voices smote his ear
     Of garrulous citizens who jostled past.
     Loud cries, gay laughter, snatches of sweet song,
     The tinkling fountains set in gardens cool
     About the pillared palaces, and blent
     With trickling of the conduits in the squares,
     The noisy teams within the narrow streets,--
     All these the stranger heard and did not hear,
     While ringing bells pealed out above the town,
     And calm gray twilight skies stretched over it.
     Wide open stood the doors of every church,
     And through the porches pressed a streaming throng.
     Vague wonderment perplexed him, at the sight
     Of broken columns raised to Jupiter
     Beside the cross, immense cathedrals reared
     Upon a dead faith's ruins; all the whirl
     And eager bustle of the living town
     Filling the storied streets, whose very stones
     Were solemn monuments, and spake of death.
     Although he wrestled with himself, the thought
     Of that poor, past religion smote his heart
     With a huge pity and deep sympathy,
     Beyond the fervor which the Church inspired.
     Where was the noble race who ruled the world,
     Moulded of purest elements, and stuffed
     With sternest virtues, every man a king,
     Wearing the purple native in his heart?
     These lounging beggars, stealthy monks and priests,
     And womanish patricians filled their place.
     Thus Tannhauser, still half an infidel,
     Pagan through mind and Christian through the heart,
     Fared thoughtfully with wandering, aimless steps,
     Till in the dying glimmer of the day
     He raised his eyes and found himself alone
     Amid the ruined arches, broken shafts,
     And huge arena of the Coliseum.
     He did not see it as it was, dim-lit
     By something less than day and more than night,
     With wan reflections of the rising moon
     Rather divined than seen on ivied walls,
     And crumbled battlements, and topless columns--
     But by the light of all the ancient days,
     Ringed with keen eager faces, living eyes,
     Fixed on the circus with a savage joy,
     Where brandished swords flashed white, and human blood
     Streamed o'er the thirsty dust, and Death was king.
     He started, shuddering, and drew breath to see
     The foul pit choked with weeds and tumbled stones,
     The cross raised midmost, and the peaceful moon
     Shining o'er all; and fell upon his knees,
     Restored to faith in one wise, loving God.
     Day followed day, and still he bode in Rome,
     Waiting his audience with the Cardinal,
     And from the gates, on pretext frivolous,
     Passed daily forth,--his Eminency slept,--
     Again, his Eminency was fatigued
     By tedious sessions of the Papal court,
     And thus the patient pilgrim was referred
     Unto a later hour.  At last the page
     Bore him a missive with Filippo's seal,
     That in his name commended Tannhauser
     Unto the Pope.  The worn, discouraged knight
     Read the brief scroll, then sadly forth again,
     Along the bosky alleys of the park,
     Passed to the glare and noise of summer streets.
     "Good God!" he muttered, "Thou hast ears for all,
     And sendest help and comfort; yet these men,
     Thy saintly ministers, must deck themselves
     With arrogance, and from their large delight
     In all the beauty of the beauteous earth,
     And peace of indolent, untempted souls,
     Deny the hungry outcast a bare word."
     Yet even as he nourished bitter thoughts,
     He felt a depth of clear serenity,
     Unruffled in his heart beneath it all.
     No outward object now had farther power
     To wound him there, for the brooding o'er those deeps
     Of vast contrition was boundless hope.


       Yet not to leave a human chance untried,
     He sought the absolution of the Pope.
     In a great hall with airy galleries,
     Thronged with high dignitaries of the Church,
     He took his seat amidst the humblest friars.
     Through open windows came sweet garden smells,
     Bright morning light, and twittered song of birds.
     Around the hall flashed gold and sunlit gems,
     And splendid wealth of color,--white-stoled priests,
     And scarlet cardinals, and bishops clad
     In violet vestments,--while beneath the shade
     Of the high gallery huddled dusky shapes,
     With faded, travel-tattered, sombre smocks,
     And shaven heads, and girdles of coarse hemp;
     Some, pilgrims penitent like Tannhauser;
     Some, devotees to kiss the sacred feet.
     The brassy blare of trumpets smote the air,
     Shrill pipes and horns with swelling clamor came,
     And through the doorway's wide-stretched tapestries
     Passed the Pope's trumpeters and mace-bearers,
     His vergers bearing slender silver wands,
     Then mitred bishops, red-clad cardinals,
     The stalwart Papal Guard with halberds raised,
     And then, with white head crowned with gold ingemmed,
     The vicar of the lowly Galilean,
     Holding his pastoral rod of smooth-hewn wood,
     With censer swung before and peacock fans
     Waved constantly by pages, either side.
     Attended thus, they bore him to his throne,
     And priests and laymen fell upon their knees.
     Then, after pause of brief and silent prayer,
     The pilgrims singly through the hall defiled,
     To kiss the borders of the papal skirts,
     Smiting their foreheads on the paven stone;
     Some silent, abject, some accusing them
     Of venial sins in accents of remorse,
     Craving his grace, and passing pardoned forth.
     Sir Tannhauser came last, no need for him
     To cry "Peccavi," and crook suppliant knees.
     His gray head rather crushed than bowed, his face
     Livid and wasted, his deep thoughtful eyes,
     His tall gaunt form in those unseemly weeds,
     Spake more than eloquence.  His hollow voice
     Brake silence, saying, "I am Tannhauser.
     For seven years I lived apart from men,
     Within the Venusberg."  A horror seized
     The assembled folk; some turbulently rose;
     Some clamored, "From the presence cast him forth!"
     But the knight never ceased his steady gaze
     Upon the Pope.  At last,--"I have not spoken
     To be condemned," he said, "by such as these.
     Thou, spiritual Father, answer me.
     Look thou upon me with the eyes of Christ.
     Can I through expiation gain my shrift,
     And work mine own redemption?"  "Insolent man!"
     Thundered the outraged Pope, "is this the tone
     Wherewith thou dost parade thy loathsome sin?
     Down on thy knees, and wallow on the earth!
     Nay, rather go! there is no ray of hope,
     No gleam, through cycles of eternity,
     For the redemption of a soul like thine.
     Yea, sooner shall my pastoral rod branch forth
     In leaf and blossom, and green shoots of spring,
     Than Christ will pardon thee."  And as he spoke,
     He struck the rod upon the floor with force
     That gave it entrance 'twixt two loosened tiles,
     So that it stood, fast-rooted and alone.
     The knight saw naught, he only heard his judge
     Ring forth his curses, and the court cry out
     "Anathema!" and loud, and blent therewith,
     Derisive laughter in the very hall,
     And a wild voice that thrilled through flesh and heart:
     "ONCE BEING MINE, THOU ART FOREVER MINE!"
     Half-mad he clasped both hands upon his brow,
     Amidst the storm of voices, till they died,
     And all was silence, save the reckless song
     Of a young bird upon a twig without.
     Then a defiant, ghastly face he raised,
     And shrieked, "'T is false!  I am no longer thine!"
     And through the windows open to the park,
     Rushed forth, beyond the sight and sound of men.


       By church nor palace paused he, till he passed
     All squares and streets, and crossed the bridge of stone,
     And stood alone amidst the broad expanse
     Of the Campagna, twinkling in the heat.
     He knelt upon a knoll of turf, and snapped
     The cord that held the cross about his neck,
     And far from him the leaden burden flung.
     "O God!  I thank Thee, that my faith in Thee
     Subsists at last, through all discouragements.
     Between us must no type nor symbol stand,
     No mediator, were he more divine
     Than the incarnate Christ.  All forms, all priests,
     I part aside, and hold communion free
     Beneath the empty sky of noon, with naught
     Between my nothingness and thy high heavens--
     Spirit with spirit.  O, have mercy, God!
     Cleanse me from lust and bitterness and pride,
     Have mercy in accordance with my faith."
     Long time he lay upon the scorching grass,
     With his face buried in the tangled weeds.
     Ah! who can tell the struggles of his soul
     Against its demons in that sacred hour,
     The solitude, the anguish, the remorse?
     When shadows long and thin lay on the ground,
     Shivering with fever, helpless he arose,
     But with a face divine, ineffable,
     Such as we dream the face of Israel,
     When the Lord's wrestling angel, at gray dawn,
     Blessed him, and disappeared.
                                      Upon the marsh,
     All night, he wandered, striving to emerge
     From the wild, pathless plain,--now limitless
     And colorless beneath the risen moon;
     Outstretching like a sea, with landmarks none,
     Save broken aqueducts and parapets,
     And ruined columns glinting 'neath the moon.
     His dress was dank and clinging with the dew;
     A thousand insects fluttered o'er his head,
     With buzz and drone; unseen cicadas chirped
     Among the long, rank grass, and far and near
     The fire-flies flickered through the summer air.
     Vague thoughts and gleams prophetic filled his brain.
     "Ah, fool!" he mused, "to look for help from men.
     Had they the will to aid, they lack the power.
     In mine own flesh and soul the sin had birth,
     Through mine own anguish it must be atoned.
     Our saviours are not saints and ministers,
     But tear-strung women, children soft of heart,
     Or fellow-sufferers, who, by some chance word,
     Some glance of comfort, save us from despair.
     These I have found, thank heaven! to strengthen trust
     In mine own kind, when all the world grew dark.
     Make me not proud in spirit, O my God!
     Yea, in thy sight I am one mass of sin,
     One black and foul corruption, yet I know
     My frailty is exceeded by thy love.
     Neither is this the slender straw of hope,
     Whereto I, drowning, cling, but firm belief,
     That fills my inmost soul with vast content.
     As surely as the hollow faiths of old
     Shriveled to dust before one ray of Truth,
     So will these modern temples pass away,
     Piled upon rotten doctrines, baseless forms,
     And man will look in his own breast for help,
     Yea, search for comfort his own inward reins,
     Revere himself, and find the God within.
     Patience and patience!"  Through the sleepless night
     He held such thoughts; at times before his eyes
     Flashed glimpses of the Church that was to be,
     Sublimely simple in the light serene
     Of future ages; then the vision changed
     To the Pope's hall, thronged with high priests, who hurled
     Their curses on him.  Staggering, he awoke
     Unto the truth, and found himself alone,
     Beneath the awful stars.  When dawn's first chill
     Crept though the shivering grass and heavy leaves,
     Giddy and overcome, he fell and slept
     Upon the dripping weeds, nor dreamed nor stirred,
     Until the wide plain basked in noon's broad light.
     He dragged his weary frame some paces more,
     Unto a solitary herdsman's hut,
     Which, in the vagueness of the moonlit night,
     Was touched with lines of beauty, till it grew
     Fair as the ruined works of ancient art,
     Now squat and hideous with its wattled roof,
     Decaying timbers, and loose door wide oped,
     Half-fallen from the hinge.  A drowsy man,
     Bearded and burnt, in shepherd habit lay,
     Stretched on the floor, slow-munching, half asleep,
     His frugal fare; for thus, at blaze of noon,
     The shepherds sought a shelter from the sun,
     Leaving their vigilant dogs beside their flock.
     The knight craved drink and bread, and with respect
     For pilgrim weeds, the Roman herdsman stirred
     His lazy length, and shared with him his meal.
     Refreshed and calm, Sir Tannhauser passed forth,
     Yearning with morbid fancy once again
     To see the kind face of the minstrel boy
     He met beside the well.  At set of sun
     He reached the place; the reaping-folk were gone,
     The day's toil over, yet he took his seat.
     A milking-girl with laden buckets full,
     Came slowly from the pasture, paused and drank.
     From a near cottage ran a ragged boy,
     And filled his wooden pail, and to his home
     Returned across the fields.  A herdsman came,
     And drank and gave his dog to drink, and passed,
     Greeting the holy man who sat there still,
     Awaiting.  But his feeble pulse beat high
     When he descried at last a youthful form,
     Crossing the field, a pitcher on his head,
     Advancing towards the well.  Yea, this was he,
     The same grave eyes, and open, girlish face.
     But he saw not, amidst the landscape brown,
     The knight's brown figure, who, to win his ear,
     Asked the lad's name.  "My name is Salvator,
     To serve you, sir," he carelessly replied,
     With eyes and hands intent upon his jar,
     Brimming and bubbling.  Then he cast one glance
     Upon his questioner, and left the well,
     Crying with keen and sudden sympathy,
     "Good Father, pardon me, I knew you not.
     Ah! you have travelled overmuch: your feet
     Are grimed with mud and wet, your face is changed,
     Your hands are dry with fever."  But the knight:
     "Nay, as I look on thee, I think the Lord
     Wills not that I should suffer any more."
     "Then you have suffered much," sighed Salvator,
     With wondering pity.  "You must come with me;
     My father knows of you, I told him all.
     A knight and minstrel who cast by his lyre,
     His health and fame, to give himself to God,--
     Yours is a life indeed to be desired!
     If you will lie with us this night, our home
     Will verily be blessed."  By kindness crushed,
     Wandering in sense and words, the broken knight
     Resisted naught, and let himself be led
     To the boy's home.  The outcast and accursed
     Was welcomed now by kindly human hands;
     Once more his blighted spirit was revived
     By contact with refreshing innocence.
     There, when the morning broke upon the world,
     The humble hosts no longer knew their guest.
     His fleshly weeds of sin forever doffed,
     Tannhauser lay and smiled, for in the night
     The angel came who brings eternal peace.


                ____________________


     Far into Wartburg, through all Italy,
     In every town the Pope sent messengers,
     Riding in furious haste; among them, one
     Who bore a branch of dry wood burst in bloom;
     The pastoral rod had borne green shoots of spring,
     And leaf and blossom.  God is merciful.



        Note.--In spite of my unwillingness to imply any possible
        belief of mine that the preceding unrhymed narratives can
        enter into competition with the elaborate poems of the author
        of "The Earthly Paradise," yet the similarity of subjects,
        and the imputation of plagiarism already made in private
        circles, induce me to remark that "Admetus" was completed
        before the publication of the "Love of Alcestis," and
        "Tannhauser" before the "Hill of Venus."


                                                      Emma Lazarus.



LINKS.


     The little and the great are joined in one
     By God's great force.  The wondrous golden sun
     Is linked unto the glow-worm's tiny spark;
     The eagle soars to heaven in his flight;
     And in those realms of space, all bathed in light,
     Soar none except the eagle and the lark.



MATINS.


     Gray earth, gray mist, gray sky:
     Through vapors hurrying by,
     Larger than wont, on high
       Floats the horned, yellow moon.
     Chill airs are faintly stirred,
     And far away is heard,
     Of some fresh-awakened bird,
       The querulous, shrill tune.


     The dark mist hides the face
     Of the dim land: no trace
     Of rock or river's place
       In the thick air is drawn;
     But dripping grass smells sweet,
     And rustling branches meet,
     And sounding water greet
       The slow, sure, sacred dawn.


     Past is the long black night,
     With its keen lightnings white,
     Thunder and floods: new light
       The glimmering low east streaks.
     The dense clouds part: between
     Their jagged rents are seen
     Pale reaches blue and green,
       As the mirk curtain breaks.


     Above the shadowy world,
     Still more and more unfurled,
     The gathered mists upcurled
       Like phantoms melt and pass.
     In clear-obscure revealed,
     Brown wood, gray stream, dark field:
     Fresh, healthy odors yield
       Wet furrows, flowers, and grass.


     The sudden, splendid gleam
     Of one thin, golden beam
     Shoots from the feathered rim
       Of yon hill crowned with woods.
     Down its embowered side,
     As living waters slide,
     So the great morning tide
       Follows in sunny floods.


     From bush and hedge and tree
     Joy, unrestrained and free,
     Breaks forth in melody,
       Twitter and chirp and song:
     Alive the festal air
     With gauze-winged creatures fair,
     That flicker everywhere,
       Dart, poise, and flash along.


     The shining mists are gone,
     Slight films of gold swift-blown
     Before the strong, bright sun
       Or the deep-colored sky:
     A world of life and glow
     Sparkles and basks below,
     Where the soft meads a-row,
       Hoary with dew-fall, lie.


     Does not the morn break thus,
     Swift, bright, victorious,
     With new skies cleared for us,
       Over the soul storm-tost?
     Her night was long and deep,
     Strange visions vexed her sleep,
     Strange sorrows bade her weep:
       Her faith in dawn was lost.


     No halt, no rest for her,
     The immortal wanderer
     From sphere to higher sphere,
       Toward the pure source of day.
     The new light shames her fears,
     Her faithlessness, her tears,
     As the new sun appears
       To light her godlike way.



SAINT ROMUALDO.


     I give God thanks that I, a lean old man,
     Wrinkled, infirm, and crippled with keen pains
     By austere penance and continuous toil,
     Now rest in spirit, and possess "the peace
     Which passeth understanding." Th' end draws nigh,
     Though the beginning is yesterday,
     And a broad lifetime spreads 'twixt this and that--
     A favored life, though outwardly the butt
     Of ignominy, malice, and affront,
     Yet lighted from within by the clear star
     Of a high aim, and graciously prolonged
     To see at last its utmost goal attained.
     I speak not of mine Order and my House,
     Here founded by my hands and filled with saints--
     A white society of snowy souls,
     Swayed by my voice, by mine example led;
     For this is but the natural harvest reaped
     From labors such as mine when blessed by God.
     Though I rejoice to think my spirit still
     Will work my purposes, through worthy hands,
     After my bones are shriveled into dust,
     Yet have I gleaned a finer, sweeter fruit
     Of holy satisfaction, sure and real,
     Though subtler than the tissue of the air--
     The power completely to detach the soul
     From her companion through this life, the flesh;
     So that in blessed privacy of peace,
     Communing with high angels, she can hold,
     Serenely rapt, her solitary course.


       Ye know, O saints of heaven, what I have borne
     Of discipline and scourge; the twisted lash
     Of knotted rope that striped my shrinking limbs;
     Vigils and fasts protracted, till my flesh
     Wasted and crumbled from mine aching bones,
     And the last skin, one woof of pain and sores,
     Thereto like yellow parchment loosely clung;
     Exposure to the fever and the frost,
     When 'mongst the hollows of the hills I lurked
     From persecution of misguided folk,
     Accustoming my spirit to ignore
     The burden of the cross, while picturing
     The bliss of disembodied souls, the grace
     Of holiness, the lives of sainted men,
     And entertaining all exalted thoughts,
     That nowise touched the trouble of the hour,
     Until the grief and pain seemed far less real
     Than the creations of my brain inspired.
     The vision, the beatitude, were true:
     The agony was but an evil dream.
     I speak not now as one who hath not learned
     The purport of those lightly-bandied words,
     Evil and Fate, but rather one who knows
     The thunders of the terrors of the world.
     No mortal chance or change, no earthly shock,
     Can move or reach my soul, securely throned
     On heights of contemplation and calm prayer,
     Happy, serene, no less actual joy
     Of present peace than faith in joys to come.


       This soft, sweet, yellow evening, how the trees
     Stand crisp against the clear, bright-colored sky!
     How the white mountain-tops distinctly shine,
     Taking and giving radiance, and the slopes
     Are purpled with rich floods of peach-hued light!
     Thank God, my filmy, old dislustred eyes
     Find the same sense of exquisite delight,
     My heart vibrates to the same touch of joy
     In scenes like this, as when my pulse danced high,
     And youth coursed through my veins!  This the one link
     That binds the wan old man that now I am
     To the wild lad who followed up the hounds
     Among Ravenna's pine-woods by the sea.
     For there how oft would I lose all delight
     In the pursuit, the triumph, or the game,
     To stray alone among the shadowy glades,
     And gaze, as one who is not satisfied
     With gazing, at the large, bright, breathing sea,
     The forest glooms, and shifting gleams between
     The fine dark fringes of the fadeless trees,
     On gold-green turf, sweet-brier, and wild pink rose!
     How rich that buoyant air with changing scent
     Of pungent pine, fresh flowers, and salt cool seas!
     And when all echoes of the chase had died,
     Of horn and halloo, bells and baying hounds,
     How mine ears drank the ripple of the tide
     On the fair shore, the chirp of unseen birds,
     The rustling of the tangled undergrowth,
     And the deep lyric murmur of the pines,
     When through their high tops swept the sudden breeze!
     There was my world, there would my heart dilate,
     And my aspiring soul dissolve in prayer
     Unto that Spirit of Love whose energies
     Were active round me, yet whose presence, sphered
     In the unsearchable, unbodied air,
     Made itself felt, but reigned invisible.
     This ere the day that made me what I am.
     Still can I see the hot, bright sky, the sea
     Illimitably sparkling, as they showed
     That morning.  Though I deemed I took no note
     Of heaven or earth or waters, yet my mind
     Retains to-day the vivid portraiture
     Of every line and feature of the scene.
     Light-hearted 'midst the dewy lanes I fared
     Unto the sea, whose jocund gleam I caught
     Between the slim boles, when I heard the clink
     Of naked weapons, then a sudden thrust
     Sickening to hear, and then a stifled groan;
     And pressing forward I beheld the sight
     That seared itself for ever on my brain--
     My kinsman, Ser Ranieri, on the turf,
     Fallen upon his side, his bright young head
     Among the pine-spurs, and his cheek pressed close
     Unto the moist, chill sod: his fingers clutched
     A handful of loose weeds and grass and earth,
     Uprooted in his anguish as he fell,
     And slowly from his heart the thick stream flowed,
     Fouling the green, leaving the fair, sweet face
     Ghastly, transparent, with blue, stony eyes
     Staring in blankness on that other one
     Who triumphed over him.  With hot desire
     Of instant vengeance I unsheathed my sword
     To rush upon the slayer, when he turned
     In his first terror of blood-guiltiness.

       .  .  .  .  .  .  .

     Within my heart a something snapped and brake.
     What was it but the chord of rapturous joy
     For ever stilled?  I tottered and would fall,
     Had I not leaned against the friendly pine;
     For all realities of life, unmoored
     From their firm anchorage, appeared to float
     Like hollow phantoms past my dizzy brain.
     The strange delusion wrought upon my soul
     That this had been enacted ages since.
     This very horror curdled at my heart,
     This net of trees spread round, these iron heavens,
     Were closing over me when I had stood,
     Unnumbered cycles back, and fronted HIM,
     My father; and he felt mine eyes as now,
     Yet saw me not; and then, as now, that form,
     The one thing real, lay stretched between us both.
     The fancy passed, and I stood sane and strong
     To grasp the truth.  Then I remembered all--
     A few fierce words between them yester eve
     Concerning some poor plot of pasturage,
     Soon silenced into courteous, frigid calm:
     This was the end.  I could not meet him now,
     To curse him, to accuse him, or to save,
     And draw him from the red entanglement
     Coiled by his own hands round his ruined life.
     God pardon me!  My heart that moment held
     No drop of pity toward this wretched soul;
     And cowering down, as though his guilt were mine,
     I fled amidst the savage silences
     Of that grim wood, resolved to nurse alone
     My boundless desolation, shame, and grief.


       There, in that thick-leaved twilight of high noon,
     The quiet of the still, suspended air,
     Once more my wandering thoughts were calmly ranged,
     Shepherded by my will.  I wept, I prayed
     A solemn prayer, conceived in agony,
     Blessed with response instant, miraculous;
     For in that hour my spirit was at one
     With Him who knows and satisfies her needs.
     The supplication and the blessing sprang
     From the same source, inspired divinely both.
     I prayed for light, self-knowledge, guidance, truth,
     And these like heavenly manna were rained down
     To feed my hungered soul.  His guilt was mine.
     What angel had been sent to stay mine arm
     Until the fateful moment passed away
     That would have ushered an eternity
     Of withering remorse?  I found the germs
     In mine own heart of every human sin,
     That waited but occasion's tempting breath
     To overgrow with poisoned bloom my life.
     What God thus far had saved me from myself?
     Here was the lofty truth revealed, that each
     Must feel himself in all, must know where'er
     The great soul acts or suffers or enjoys,
     His proper soul in kinship there is bound.
     Then my life-purpose dawned upon my mind,
     Encouraging as morning.  As I lay,
     Crushed by the weight of universal love,
     Which mine own thoughts had heaped upon myself,
     I heard the clear chime of a slow, sweet bell.
     I knew it--whence it came and what it sang.
     From the gray convent nigh the wood it pealed,
     And called the monks to prayer.  Vigil and prayer,
     Clean lives, white days of strict austerity:
     Such were the offerings of these holy saints.
     How far might such not tend to expiate
     A riotous world's indulgence?  Here my life,
     Doubly austere and doubly sanctified,
     Might even for that other one atone,
     So bound to mine, till both should be forgiven.


       They sheltered me, not questioning the need
     That led me to their cloistered solitude.
     How rich, how freighted with pure influence,
     With dear security of perfect peace,
     Was the first day I passed within those walls!
     The holy habit of perpetual prayer,
     The gentle greetings, the rare temperate speech,
     The chastening discipline, the atmosphere
     Of settled and profound tranquillity,
     Were even as living waters unto one
     Who perisheth of thirst.  Was this the world
     That yesterday seemed one huge battlefield
     For brutish passions?  Could the soul of man
     Withdraw so easily, and erect apart
     Her own fair temple for her own high ends?
     But this serene contentment slowly waned
     As I discerned the broad disparity
     Betwixt the form and spirit of the laws
     That bound the order in strait brotherhood.
     Yet when I sought to gain a larger love,
     More rigid discipline, severer truth,
     And more complete surrender of the soul
     Unto her God, this was to my reproach,
     And scoffs and gibes beset me on all sides.
     In mine own cell I mortified my flesh,
     I held aloof from all my brethren's feasts
     To wrestle with my viewless enemies,
     Till they should leave their blessing on my head;
     For nightly was I haunted by that face,
     White, bloodless, as I saw it 'midst the ferns,
     Now staring out of darkness, and it held
     Mine eyes from slumber and my brain from rest
     And drove me from my straw to weep and pray.
     Rebellious thoughts such subtle torture wrought
     Upon my spirit that I lay day-long
     In dumb despair, until the blessed hope
     Of mercy dawned again upon my soul,
     As gradual as the slow gold moon that mounts
     The airy steps of heaven.  My faith arose
     With sure perception that disaster, wrong,
     And every shadow of man's destiny
     Are merely circumstance, and cannot touch
     The soul's fine essence: they exist or die
     Only as she affirms them or denies.


       This faith sustain me even to the end:
     It floods my heart with peace as surely now
     As on that day the friars drove me forth,
     Urging that my asceticism, too harsh,
     Endured through pride, would bring into reproach
     Their customs and their order.  Then began
     My exile in the mountains, where I bode
     A hunted man.  The elements conspired
     Against me, and I was the seasons' sport,
     Drenched, parched, and scorched and frozen alternately,
     Burned with shrewd frosts, prostrated by fierce heats,
     Shivering 'neath chilling dews and gusty rains,
     And buffeted by all the winds of heaven.
     Yet was this period my time of joy:
     My daily thoughts perpetual converse held
     With angels ministrant; mine ears were charmed
     With sweet accordance of celestial sounds,
     Song, harp and choir, clear ringing through the air.
     And visions were revealed unto mine eyes
     By night and day of Heaven's very courts,
     In shadowless, undimmed magnificence.
     I gave God thanks, not that He sheltered me,
     And fed me as He feeds the fowls of air--
     For had I perished, this too had been well--
     But for the revelation of His truth,
     The glory, the beatitude vouchsafed
     To exalt, to heal, to quicken, to inspire;
     So that the pinched, lean excommunicate
     Was crowned with joy more solid, more secure,
     Than all the comfort of the vales could bring.
     Then the good Lord touched certain fervid hearts,
     Aspiring toward His love, to come to me,
     Timid and few at first; but as they heard
     From mine own lips the precious oracles,
     That soothed the trouble of their souls, appeased
     Their spiritual hunger, and disclosed
     All of the God within them to themselves,
     They flocked about me, and they hailed me saint,
     And sware to follow and to serve the good
     Which my word published and my life declared.
     Thus the lone hermit of the mountain-top
     Descended leader of a band of saints,
     And midway 'twixt the summit and the vale
     I perched my convent.  Yet I bated not
     One whit of strict restraint and abstinence.
     And they who love me and who serve the truth
     Have learned to suffer with me, and have won
     The supreme joy that is not of the flesh,
     Foretasting the delights of Paradise.
     This faith, to them imparted, will endure
     After my tongue hath ceased to utter it,
     And the great peace hath settled on my soul.



AFTERNOON.


         Small, shapeless drifts of cloud
     Sail slowly northward in the soft-hued sky,
       With blur half-tints and rolling summits bright,
     By the late sun caressed; slight hazes shroud
       All things afar; shineth each leaf anigh
         With its own warmth and light.


         O'erblown by Southland airs,
     The summer landscape basks in utter peace:
       In lazy streams the lazy clouds are seen;
     Low hills, broad meadows, and large, clear-cut squares
       Of ripening corn-fields, rippled by the breeze,
         With shifting shade and sheen.


         Hark! and you may not hear
     A sound less soothing than the rustle cool
       Of swaying leaves, the steady wiry drone
     Of unseen crickets, sudden chirpings clear
       Of happy birds, the tinkle of the pool,
         Chafed by a single stone.


         What vague, delicious dreams,
     Born of this golden hour of afternoon,
       And air balm-freighted, fill the soul with bliss,
     Transpierced like yonder clouds with lustrous gleams,
       Fantastic, brief as they, and, like them, spun
         Of gilded nothingness!


         All things are well with her.
     'T is good to be alive, to see the light
       That plays upon the grass, to feel (and sigh
     With perfect pleasure) the mild breezes stir
       Among the garden roses, red and white,
         With whiffs of fragrancy.


         There is no troublous thought,
     No painful memory, no grave regret,
       To mar the sweet suggestions of the hour:
     The soul, at peace, reflects the peace without,
       Forgetting grief as sunset skies forget
         The morning's transient shower.



PHANTASIES.

               (After Robert Schumann).


                     I. Evening.


     Rest, beauty, stillness: not a waif of a cloud
     From gray-blue east sheer to the yellow west--
     No film of mist the utmost slopes to shroud.


     The earth lies grace, by quiet airs caressed,
     And shepherdeth her shadows, but each stream,
     Free to the sky, is by that glow possessed,
     And traileth with the splendors of a dream
     Athwart the dusky land.  Uplift thine eyes!
     Unbroken by a vapor or a gleam,


     The vast clear reach of mild, wan twilight skies.
     But look again, and lo, the evening star!
     Against the pale tints black the slim elms rise,


     The earth exhales sweet odors nigh and far,
     And from the heavens fine influences fall.
     Familiar things stand not for what they are:


     What they suggest, foreshadow, or recall
     The spirit is alert to apprehend,
     Imparting somewhat of herself to all.


     Labor and thought and care are at an end:
     The soul is filled with gracious reveries,
     And with her mood soft sounds and colors blend;


     For simplest sounds ring forth like melodies
     In this weird-lighted air--the monotone
     Of some far bell, the distant farmyard cries,


     A barking dog, the thin, persistent drone
     Of crickets, and the lessening call of birds.
     The apparition of yon star alone


     Breaks on the sense like music.  Beyond word
     The peace that floods the soul, for night is here,
     And Beauty still is guide and harbinger.



                     II. Aspiration.


     Dark lies the earth, and bright with worlds the sky:
     That soft, large, lustrous star, that first outshone,
     Still holds us spelled with potent sorcery.


     Dilating, shrinking, lightening, it hath won
     Our spirit with its strange strong influence,
     And sways it as the tides beneath the moon.


     What impulse this, o'ermastering heart and sense?
     Exalted, thrilled, the freed soul fain would soar
     Unto that point of shining prominence,


     Craving new fields and some unheard-of shore,
     Yea, all the heavens, for her activity,
     To mount with daring flight, to hover o'er


     Low hills of earth, flat meadows, level sea,
     And earthly joy and trouble.  In this hour
     Of waning light and sound, of mystery,


     Of shadowed love and beauty-veiled power,
     She feels her wings: she yearns to grasp her own,
     Knowing the utmost good to be her dower.


     A dream! a dream! for at a touch 't is gone.
     O mocking spirit! thy mere fools are we,
     Unto the depths from heights celestial thrown.


     From these blind gropings toward reality,
     This thirst for truth, this most pathetic need
     Of something to uplift, to justify,


     To help and comfort while we faint and bleed,
     May we not draw, wrung from the last despair,
     Some argument of hope, some blessed creed,


     That we can trust the faith which whispers prayer,
     The vanishings, the ecstasy, the gleam,
     The nameless aspiration, and the dream?



                    III. Wherefore?


     Deep languor overcometh mind and frame:
     A listless, drowsy, utter weariness,
     A trance wherein no thought finds speech or name,


     The overstrained spirit doth possess.
     She sinks with drooping wing--poor unfledged bird,
     That fain had flown!--in fluttering breathlessness.


     To what end those high hopes that wildly stirred
     The beating heart with aspirations vain?
     Why proffer prayers unanswered and unheard


     To blank, deaf heavens that will not heed her pain?
     Where lead these lofty, soaring tendencies,
     That leap and fly and poise, to fall again,


     Yet seem to link her with the utmost skies?
     What mean these clinging loves that bind to earth,
     And claim her with beseeching, wistful eyes?


     This little resting-place 'twixt death and birth,
     Why is it fretted with the ceaseless flow
     Of flood and ebb, with overgrowth and dearth,


     And vext with dreams, and clouded with strange woe?
     Ah! she is tired of thought, she yearns for peace,
     Seeing all things one equal end must know.


     Wherefore this tangle of perplexities,
     The trouble or the joy? the weary maze
     Of narrow fears and hopes that may not cease?


     A chill falls on her from the skyey ways,
     Black with the night-tide, where is none to hear
     The ancient cry, the Wherefore of our days.



                    IV. Fancies.


     The ceaseless whirr of crickets fills the ear
     From underneath each hedge and bush and tree,
     Deep in the dew-drenched grasses everywhere.


     The simple sound dispels the fantasy
     Of gloom and terror gathering round the mind.
     It seems a pleasant thing to breathe, to be,


     To hear the many-voiced, soft summer wind
     Lisp through the dark thick leafage overhead--
     To see the rosy half-moon soar behind


     The black slim-branching elms.  Sad thoughts have fled,
     Trouble and doubt, and now strange reveries
     And odd caprices fill us in their stead.


     From yonder broken disk the redness dies,
     Like gold fruit through the leaves the half-sphere gleams,
     Then over the hoar tree-tops climbs the skies,


     Blanched ever more and more, until it beams
     Whiter than crystal.  Like a scroll unfurled,
     And shadowy as a landscape seen in dreams,


     Reveals itself the sleeping, quiet world,
     Painted in tender grays and whites subdued--
     The speckled stream with flakes of light impearled,


     The wide, soft meadow and the massive wood.
     Naught is too wild for our credulity
     In this weird hour: our finest dreams hold good.


     Quaint elves and frolic flower-sprites we see,
     And fairies weaving rings of gossamer,
     And angels floating through the filmy air.



                    V. In the Night.


     Let us go in: the air is dank and chill
     With dewy midnight, and the moon rides high
     O'er ghostly fields, pale stream, and spectral hill.


     This hour the dawn seems farthest from the sky
     So weary long the space that lies between
     That sacred joy and this dark mystery


     Of earth and heaven: no glimmering is seen,
     In the star-sprinkled east, of coming day,
     Nor, westward, of the splendor that hath been.


     Strange fears beset us, nameless terrors sway
     The brooding soul, that hungers for her rest,
     Out worn with changing moods, vain hopes' delay,


     With conscious thought o'erburdened and oppressed.
     The mystery and the shadow wax too deep;
     She longs to merge both sense and thought in sleep.



                    VI. Faerie.


     From the oped lattice glance once more abroad
     While the ethereal moontide bathes with light
     Hill, stream, and garden, and white-winding road.


     All gracious myths born of the shadowy night
     Recur, and hover in fantastic guise,
     Airy and vague, before the drowsy sight.


     On yonder soft gray hill Endymion lies
     In rosy slumber, and the moonlit air
     Breathes kisses on his cheeks and lips and eyes.


     'Twixt bush and bush gleam flower-white limbs, left bare,
     Of huntress-nymphs, and flying raiment thin,
     Vanishing faces, and bright floating hair.


     The quaint midsummer fairies and their kin,
     Gnomes, elves, and trolls, on blossom, branch, and grass
     Gambol and dance, and winding out and in


     Leave circles of spun dew where'er they pass.
     Through the blue ether the freed Ariel flies;
     Enchantment holds the air; a swarming mass


     Of myriad dusky, gold-winged dreams arise,
     Throng toward the gates of sense, and so possess
     The soul, and lull it to forgetfulness.



                 VII. Confused Dreams.


     O strange, dim other-world revealed to us,
     Beginning there where ends reality,
     Lying 'twixt life and death, and populous


     With souls from either sphere! now enter we
     Thy twisted paths.  Barred is the silver gate,
     But the wild-carven doors of ivory


     Spring noiselessly apart: between them straight
     Flies forth a cloud of nameless shadowy things,
     With harpies, imps, and monsters, small and great,


     Blurring the thick air with darkening wings.
     All humors of the blood and brain take shape,
     And fright us with our own imaginings.


     A trouble weighs upon us: no escape
     From this unnatural region can there be.
     Fixed eyes stare on us, wide mouths grin and gape,


     Familiar faces out of reach we see.
     Fain would we scream, to shatter with a cry
     The tangled woof of hideous fantasy,


     When, lo! the air grows clear, a soft fair sky
     Shines over head: sharp pain dissolves in peace;
     Beneath the silver archway quietly


     We float away: all troublous visions cease.
     By a strange sense of joy we are possessed,
     Body and spirit soothed in perfect rest.



                 VIII. The End of the Song.


     What dainty note of long-drawn melody
     Athwart our dreamless sleep rings sweet and clear,
     Till all the fumes of slumber are brushed by,


     And with awakened consciousness we hear
     The pipe of birds?  Look forth!  The sane, white day
     Blesses the hilltops, and the sun is near.


     All misty phantoms slowly roll away
     With the night's vapors toward the western sky.
     The Real enchants us, the fresh breath of hay


     Blows toward us; soft the meadow-grasses lie,
     Bearded with dew; the air is a caress;
     The sudden sun o'ertops the boundary


     Of eastern hills, the morning joyousness
     Thrills tingling through the frame; life's pulse beats strong;
     Night's fancies melt like dew.  So ends the song!



ON THE PROPOSAL TO ERECT A MONUMENT IN ENGLAND TO LORD BYRON.


     The grass of fifty Aprils hath waved green
       Above the spent heart, the Olympian head,
     The hands crost idly, the shut eyes unseen,
       Unseeing, the locked lips whose song hath fled;
     Yet mystic-lived, like some rich, tropic flower,
     His fame puts forth fresh blossoms hour by hour;
     Wide spread the laden branches dropping dew
       On the low, laureled brow misunderstood,
       That bent not, neither bowed, until subdued
     By the last foe who crowned while he o'erthrew.


     Fair was the Easter Sabbath morn when first
       Men heard he had not wakened to its light:
     The end had come, and time had done its worst,
       For the black cloud had fallen of endless night.
     Then in the town, as Greek accosted Greek,
     'T was not the wonted festal words to speak,
     "Christ is arisen," but "Our chief is gone,"
       With such wan aspect and grief-smitten head
       As when the awful cry of "Pan is dead!"
     Filled echoing hill and valley with its moan.


     "I am more fit for death than the world deems,"
       So spake he as life's light was growing dim,
     And turned to sleep as unto soothing dreams.
       What terrors could its darkness hold for him,
     Familiar with all anguish, but with fear
     Still unacquainted?  On his martial bier
     They laid a sword, a helmet, and a crown--
       Meed of the warrior, but not these among
       His voiceless lyre, whose silent chords unstrung
     Shall wait--how long?--for touches like his own.


     An alien country mourned him as her son,
       And hailed him hero: his sole, fitting tomb
     Were Theseus' temple or the Parthenon,
       Fondly she deemed.  His brethren bare him home,
     Their exiled glory, past the guarded gate
     Where England's Abbey shelters England's great.
     Afar he rests whose very name hath shed
       New lustre on her with the song he sings.
       So Shakespeare rests who scorned to lie with kings,
     Sleeping at peace midst the unhonored dead.


     And fifty years suffice to overgrow
       With gentle memories the foul weeds of hate
     That shamed his grave.  The world begins to know
       Her loss, and view with other eyes his fate.
     Even as the cunning workman brings to pass
     The sculptor's thought from out the unwieldy mass
     Of shapeless marble, so Time lops away
       The stony crust of falsehood that concealed
       His just proportions, and, at last revealed,
     The statue issues to the light of day,


     Most beautiful, most human.  Let them fling
       The first stone who are tempted even as he,
     And have not swerved.  When did that rare soul sing
       The victim's shame, the tyrant's eulogy,
     The great belittle, or exalt the small,
     Or grudge his gift, his blood, to disenthrall
     The slaves of tyranny or ignorance?
       Stung by fierce tongues himself, whose rightful fame
       Hath he reviled?  Upon what noble name
     Did the winged arrows of the barbed wit glance?


     The years' thick, clinging curtains backward pull,
       And show him as he is, crowned with bright beams,
     "Beauteous, and yet not all as beautiful
       As he hath been or might be; Sorrow seems
     Half of his immortality."*  He needs
     No monument whose name and song and deeds
     Are graven in all foreign hearts; but she
       His mother, England, slow and last to wake,
       Needs raise the votive shaft for her fame's sake:
     Hers is the shame if such forgotten be!
       May, 1875.

       *"Cain," Act I. Scene 1.



ARABESQUE.


     On a background of pale gold
     I would trace with quaint design,
         Penciled fine,
     Brilliant-colored, Moorish scenes,
     Mosques and crescents, pages, queens,
         Line on line,
     That the prose-world of to-day
     Might the gorgeous Past's array
         Once behold.


     On the magic painted shield
     Rich Granada's Vega green
         Should be seen;
     Crystal fountains, coolness flinging,
     Hanging gardens' skyward springing
         Emerald sheen;
     Ruddy when the daylight falls,
     Crowned Alhambra's beetling walls
         Stand revealed;


     Balconies that overbrow
     Field and city, vale and stream.
         In a dream
     Lulled the drowsy landscape basks;
         Mark the gleam
     Silvery of each white-swathed peak!
     Mountain-airs caress the cheek,
         Fresh from the snow.


     Here in Lindaraxa's bower
     The immortal roses bloom;
         In the room
     Lion-guarded, marble-paven,
     Still the fountain leaps to heaven.
         But the doom
     Of the banned and stricken race
     Overshadows every place,
         Every hour.


     Where fair Lindaraxa dwelt
     Flits the bat on velvet wings;
         Mute the strings
     Of the broken mandoline;
     The Pavilion of the Queen
         Widely flings
     Vacant windows to the night;
     Moonbeams kiss the floor with light
         Where she knelt.


     Through these halls that people stepped
     Who through darkling centuries
         Held the keys
     Of all wisdom, truth, and art,
     In a Paradise apart,
        Lapped in ease,
     Sagely pondering deathless themes,
     While, befooled with monkish dreams,
         Europe slept.


     Where shall they be found today?
     Yonder hill that frets the sky
         "The last Sigh
     Of the Moor" is named still.
     There the ill-starred Boabdil
         Bade good-by
     To Granada and to Spain,
     Where the Crescent ne'er again
         Holdeth sway.


     Vanished like the wind that blows,
     Whither shall we seek their trace
         On earth's face?
     The gigantic wheel of fate,
     Crushing all things soon or late,
        Now a race,
     Now a single life o'erruns,
     Now a universe of suns,
         Now a rose.



AGAMEMNON'S TOMB.


     Uplift the ponderous, golden mask of death,
       And let the sun shine on him as it did
     How many thousand years agone!  Beneath
       This worm-defying, uncorrupted lid,
     Behold the young, heroic face, round-eyed,
     Of one who in his full-flowered manhood died;
       Of nobler frame than creatures of to-day,
     Swathed in fine linen cerecloths fold on fold,
     With carven weapons wrought of bronze and gold,
       Accoutred like a warrior for the fray.


     We gaze in awe at these huge-modeled limbs,
       Shrunk in death's narrow house, but hinting yet
     Their ancient majesty; these sightless rims
       Whose living eyes the eyes of Helen met;
     The speechless lips that ah! what tales might tell
     Of earth's morning-tide when gods did dwell
       Amidst a generous-fashioned, god-like race,
     Who dwarf our puny semblance, and who won
     The secret soul of Beauty for their own,
       While all our art but crudely apes their grace.


     We gather all the precious relics up,
       The golden buttons chased with wondrous craft,
     The sculptured trinkets and the crystal cup,
       The sheathed, bronze sword, the knife with brazen haft.
     Fain would we wrest with curious eyes from these
     Unnumbered long-forgotten histories,
       The deeds heroic of this mighty man,
     On whom once more the living daylight beams,
     To shame our littleness, to mock our dreams,
       And the abyss of centuries to span.


     Yet could we rouse him from his blind repose,
       How might we meet his searching questionings,
     Concerning all the follies, wrongs, and woes,
       Since his great day whom men call King of Kings,
     Victorious Agamemnon?  How might we
     Those large, clear eyes confront, which scornfully
       Would view us as a poor, degenerate race,
     Base-souled and mean-proportioned?  What reply
     Give to the beauty-loving Greek's heart-cry,
       Seeking his ancient gods in vacant space?


     What should he find within a world grown cold,
       Save doubt and trouble?  To his sunny creed
       A thousand gloomy, warring sects succeed.
     How of the Prince of Peace might he be told,
       When over half the world the war-cloud lowers?
       How would he mock these faltering hopes of ours,
     Who knows the secret now of death and fate!
       Humbly we gaze on the colossal frame,
       And mutely we accept the mortal shame,
     Of men degraded from a high estate.



SIC SEMPER LIBERATORIBUS!


                     March 13, 1881.

     As one who feels the breathless nightmare grip
     His heart-strings, and through visioned horrors fares,
     Now on a thin-ledged chasm's rock-crumbling lip,
     Now on a tottering pinnacle that dare
     The front of heaven, while always unawares
     Weird monsters start above, around, beneath,
     Each glaring from some uglier mask of death,


     So the White Czar imperial progress made
     Through terror-haunted days.  A shock, a cry
     Whose echoes ring the globe--the spectre's laid.
     Hurled o'er the abyss, see the crowned martyr lie
     Resting in peace--fear, change, and death gone by.
     Fit end for nightmare--mist of blood and tears,
     Red climax to the slow, abortive years.


     The world draws breath--one long, deep-shuddering sigh,
     At that which dullest brain prefigured clear
     As swift-sure bolt from thunder-threatening sky.
     How heaven-anointed humblest lots appear
     Beside his glittering eminence of fear;
     His spiked crown, sackcloth purple, poisoned cates,
     His golden palace honey-combed with hates.


     Well is it done!  A most heroic plan,
     Which after myriad plots succeeds at last
     In robbing of his life this poor old man,
     Whose sole offense--his birthright--has but passed
     To fresher blood, with younger strength recast.
     What men are these, who, clamoring to be free,
     Would bestialize the world to what they be?


     Whose sons are they who made the snow-wreathed head
     Their frenzy's target?  In their Russian veins,
     What alien current urged on to smite him dead,
     Whose word had loosed a million Russian chains?
     What brutes were they for whom such speechless pains,
     So royally endured, no human thrill
     Awoke, in hearts drunk with the lust to kill?


     Not brutes!  No tiger of the wilderness,
     No jackal of the jungle, bears such brand
     As man's black heart, who shrinks not to confess
     The desperate deed of his deliberate hand.
     Our kind, our kin, have done this thing.  We stand
     Bowed earthward, red with shame, to see such wrong
     Prorogue Love's cause and Truth's--God knows how long!



DON RAFAEL.


           "I would not have," he said,
     "Tears, nor the black pall, nor the wormy grave,
     Grief's hideous panoply I would not have
           Round me when I am dead.


           "Music and flowers and light,
     And choric dances to guitar and flute,
     Be these around me when my lips are mute,
           Mine eyes are sealed from sight.


           "So let me lie one day,
     One long, eternal day, in sunshine bathed,
     In cerements of silken tissue swathed,
           Smothered 'neath flowers of May.

           "One perfect day of peace,
     Or ere clean flame consume my fleshly veil,
     My life--a gilded vapor--shall exhale,
           Brief as a sigh--and cease.


           "But ere the torch be laid
     To my unshrinking limbs by some true hand,
     Athwart the orange-fragrant laughing land,
           Bring many a dark-eyed maid


           "From the bright, sea-kissed town;
     My beautiful, beloved enemies,
     Gemmed as the dew, voluptuous as the breeze,
           Each in her festal gown.


           "All those through whom I learned
     The sweet of folly and the pains of love,
     My Rose, my Star, my Comforter, my Dove,
           For whom, poor moth, I burned.


           "Loves of a day, and hour,
     Or passions (vowed eternal) of a year,
     Though each be strange to each, to me all dear
           As to the bee the flower.


           "Around me they shall move
     In languid contra dances, and shall shed
     Their smiling eyebeams as I were not dead,
           But quick to flash back love.


           "Something not alien quite
     To tender ruth, perchance their breast shall fill,
     Seeing him that was so mobile grown so still,
           The fiery-veined so white.


           "And when the dance is o'er,
     The pinched guitar, the smitten tambourine,
     Have ceased their rhythmic beat,--oh, friends of mine,
           On my rich bier, then pour


           "The garlands that ye wear,
     The happy rose that on your bosom breathes,
     The fresh-culled clusters and the dewy wreaths
           That crown your fragrant hair.


           "Though blind, I still shall see,
     Though dead, shall feel your presence and shall know,
     I who was beauty's life-long slave, shall so
           Win her in death to me.


           "Thanks, sisters, and farewell!
     Back to your joys.  My brother shall make room
     For my tried sword upon the high-piled bloom,
           And fire the pinnacle.


           "My soul, pure flame, shall leap
     To meet its parent essence once again
     My body dust and ashes shall remain,
           Tired heart and brain shall sleep.


           "Life has one gate alone,
     Obscure, beset with peril and fierce pain.
     Large death has many portals to his fane,
           Why choose we to make moan?


           "Why dwell with worms and clay
     When we may soar through air on wings of flame,
     Dissolve to small, white dust our perfect frame,
           And never know decay?


           "A brother's pious hand
     The pure, fire-winnowed ashes shall inurn,
     And lay them in the orange grove where burn
           Globed suns that scent the land.


           "The leaf shall be more green,
     Even for my dust--more snowy-soft the flower,
     More juicy-sweet the fruit's live pulp--the bower
           Richer that I have been.


           "For I would not," he said,
     "Tears and the black pall and the wormy grave,
     Grief's hideous panoply I would not have
           Round me when I am dead."



OFF ROUGH POINT.


     We sat at twilight nigh the sea,
       The fog hung gray and weird.
     Through the thick film uncannily
       The broken moon appeared.


     We heard the billows crack and plunge,
       We saw nor waves nor ships.
     Earth sucked the vapors like a sponge,
       The salt spray wet our lips.


     Closer the woof of white mist drew,
       Before, behind, beside.
     How could that phantom moon break through,
       Above that shrouded tide?


     The roaring waters filled the ear,
       A white blank foiled the sight.
     Close-gathering shadows near, more near,
       Brought the blind, awful night.


     O friends who passed unseen, unknown!
       O dashing, troubled sea!
     Still stand we on a rock alone,
     Walled round by mystery.



MATER AMABILIS.


     Down the goldenest of streams,
             Tide of dreams,
     The fair cradled man-child drifts;
     Sways with cadenced motion slow,
             To and fro,
     As the mother-foot poised lightly, falls and lifts.


     He, the firstling,--he, the light
             Of her sight,--
     He, the breathing pledge of love,
     'Neath the holy passion lies,
             Of her eyes,--
     Smiles to feel the warm, life-giving ray above.


     She believes that in his vision,
             Skies elysian
     O'er an angel-people shine.
     Back to gardens of delight,
             Taking flight,
     His auroral spirit basks in dreams divine.


     But she smiles through anxious tears;
             Unborn years
     Pressing forward, she perceives.
     Shadowy muffled shapes, they come
             Deaf and dumb,
     Bringing what? dry chaff and tares, or full-eared sheaves?


     What for him shall she invoke?
             Shall the oak
     Bind the man's triumphant brow?
     Shall his daring foot alight
             On the height?
     Shall he dwell amidst the humble and the low?


     Through what tears and sweat and pain,
             Must he gain
     Fruitage from the tree of life?
     Shall it yield him bitter flavor?
             Shall its savor
     Be as manna midst the turmoil and the strife?


     In his cradle slept and smiled
             Thus the child
     Who as Prince of Peace was hailed.
     Thus anigh the mother breast,
             Lulled to rest,
     Child-Napoleon down the lilied river sailed.


     Crowned or crucified--the same
             Glows the flame
     Of her deathless love divine.
     Still the blessed mother stands,
             In all lands,
     As she watched beside thy cradle and by mine.


     Whatso gifts the years bestow,
             Still men know,
     While she breathes, lives one who sees
     (Stand they pure or sin-defiled)
             But the child
     Whom she crooned to sleep and rocked upon her knee.



FOG.


     Light silken curtain, colorless and soft,
     Dreamlike before me floating! what abides
             Behind thy pearly veil's
             Opaque, mysterious woof?


     Where sleek red kine, and dappled, crunch day-long
     Thick, luscious blades and purple clover-heads,
             Nigh me I still can mark
             Cool fields of beaded grass.


     No more; for on the rim of the globed world
     I seem to stand and stare at nothingness.
             But songs of unseen birds
             And tranquil roll of waves


     Bring sweet assurance of continuous life
     Beyond this silvery cloud.  Fantastic dreams,
             Of tissue subtler still
             Than the wreathed fog, arise,


     And cheat my brain with airy vanishings
     And mystic glories of the world beyond.
             A whole enchanted town
             Thy baffling folds conceal--


     An Orient town, with slender-steepled mosques,
     Turret from turret springing, dome from dome,
             Fretted with burning stones,
             And trellised with red gold.


     Through spacious streets, where running waters flow,
     Sun-screened by fruit-trees and the broad-leaved palm,
             Past the gay-decked bazaars,
             Walk turbaned, dark-eyed men.


     Hark! you can hear the many murmuring tongues,
     While loud the merchants vaunt their gorgeous wares.
             The sultry air is spiced
             With fragrance of rich gums,


     And through the lattice high in yon dead wall,
     See where, unveiled, an arch, young, dimpled face,
             Flushed like a musky peach,
             Peers down upon the mart!


     From her dark, ringleted and bird-poised head
     She hath cast back the milk-white silken veil:
             'Midst the blank blackness there
             She blossoms like a rose.


     Beckons she not with those bright, full-orbed eyes,
     And open arms that like twin moonbeams gleam?
             Behold her smile on me
             With honeyed, scarlet lips!


     Divine Scheherazade! I am thine.
     I come!  I come!--Hark! from some far-off mosque
             The shrill muezzin calls
             The hour of silent prayer,


     And from the lattice he hath scared my love.
     The lattice vanisheth itself--the street,
             The mart, the Orient town;
             Only through still, soft air


     That cry is yet prolonged.  I wake to hear
     The distant fog-horn peal: before mine eyes
             Stands the white wall of mist,
             Blending with vaporous skies.


     Elusive gossamer, impervious
     Even to the mighty sun-god's keen red shafts!
             With what a jealous art
             Thy secret thou dost guard!


     Well do I know deep in thine inmost folds,
     Within an opal hollow, there abides
             The lady of the mist,
             The Undine of the air--


     A slender, winged, ethereal, lily form,
     Dove-eyed, with fair, free-floating, pearl-wreathed hair,
             In waving raiment swathed
             Of changing, irised hues.


     Where her feet, rosy as a shell, have grazed
     The freshened grass, a richer emerald glows:
             Into each flower-cup
             Her cool dews she distills.


     She knows the tops of jagged mountain-peaks,
     She knows the green soft hollows of their sides,
             And unafraid she floats
             O'er the vast-circled seas.


     She loves to bask within the moon's wan beams,
     Lying, night-long upon the moist, dark earth,
             And leave her seeded pearls
             With morning on the grass.


     Ah! that athwart these dim, gray outer courts
     Of her fantastic palace I might pass,
             And reach the inmost shrine
             Of her chaste solitude,


     And feel her cool and dewy fingers press
     My mortal-fevered brow, while in my heart
             She poured with tender love
             Her healing Lethe-balm!


     See! the close curtain moves, the spell dissolves!
     Slowly it lifts: the dazzling sunshine streams
             Upon a newborn world
             And laughing summer seas.


     Swift, snowy-breasted sandbirds twittering glance
     Through crystal air.  On the horizon's marge,
             Like a huge purple wraith,
             The dusky fog retreats.



THE ELIXIR.


     "Oh brew me a potion strong and good!
         One golden drop in his wine
     Shall charm his sense and fire his blood,
         And  bend his will to  mine."


     Poor child of passion! ask of me
         Elixir of death or sleep,
     Or Lethe's stream; but love is free,
         And woman must wait and weep.



SONG.


                   Venus.

     Frosty lies the winter-landscape,
       In the twilight golden-green.
     Down the Park's deserted alleys,
       Naked elms stand stark and lean.


     Dumb the murmur of the fountain,
       Birds have flown from lawn and hill.
     But while yonder star's ascendant,
       Love triumphal reigneth still.


     See the keen flame throb and tremble,
       Brightening in the darkening night,
     Breathing like a thing of passion,
       In the sky's smooth chrysolite.


     Not beneath the moon, oh lover,
       Thou shalt gain thy heart's desire.
     Speak to-night!  The gods are with thee
       Burning with a kindred fire.



SPRING LONGING.


        What art thou doing here, O Imagination?  Go
        away I entreat thee by the gods, as thou didst
        come, for I want thee not.  But thou art come
        according to thy old fashion.  I am not angry
        with thee--only go away.
                                 --Marcus Antoninus

     Lilac hazes veil the skies.
         Languid sighs
     Breathes the mild, caressing air.
     Pink as coral's branching sprays,
         Orchard ways
     With the blossomed peach are fair.


     Sunshine, cordial as a kiss,
         Poureth bliss
     In this craving soul of mine,
     And my heart her flower-cup
         Lifteth up,
     Thirsting for the draught divine.


     Swift the liquid golden flame
         Through my frame
     Sets my throbbing veins afire.
     Bright, alluring dreams arise,
         Brim mine eyes
     With the tears of strong desire.


     All familiar scenes anear
         Disappear--
     Homestead, orchard, field, and wold.
     Moorish spires and turrets fair
         Cleave the air,
     Arabesqued on skies of gold.


     Low, my spirit, this May morn,
         Outward borne,
     Over seas hath taken wing:
     Where the mediaeval town,
         Like a crown,
     Wears the garland of the Spring.


     Light and sound and odors sweet
         Fill the street;
     Gypsy girls are selling flowers.
     Lean hidalgos turn aside,
         Amorous-eyed,
     'Neath the grim cathedral towers.


     Oh, to be in Spain to-day,
         Where the May
     Recks no whit of good or evil,
     Love and only love breathes she!
         Oh, to be
     'Midst the olive-rows of Seville!


     Or on such a day to glide
         With the tide
     Of the berylline lagoon,
     Through the streets that mirror heaven,
         Crystal paven,
     In the warm Venetian noon.


     At the prow the gondolier
        May not hear,
     May not see our furtive kiss;
     But he lends with cadenced strain
         The refrain
     To our ripe and silent bliss.


     Golden shadows, silver light,
         Burnish bright
     Air and water, domes and skies;
     As in some ambrosial dream,
         On the stream
     Floats our bark in magic wise.


     Oh, to float day long just so!
         Naught to know
     Of the trouble, toil, and fret!
     This is love, and this is May:
         Yesterday
     And to-morrow to forget!


     Whither hast thou, Fancy free,
         Guided me,
     Wild Bohemian sister dear?
     All thy gypsy soul is stirred
         Since yon bird
     Warbled that the Spring was here.


     Tempt no more!  I may not follow,
         Like the swallow,
     Gayly on the track of Spring.
     Bounden by an iron fate,
         I must wait,
     Dream and wonder, yearn and sing.



THE SOUTH.


     Night, and beneath star-blazoned summer skies
       Behold the Spirit of the musky South,
     A creole with still-burning, languid eyes,
       Voluptuous limbs and incense-breathing mouth:
             Swathed in spun gauze is she,
     From fibres of her own anana tree.


     Within these sumptuous woods she lies at ease,
       By rich night-breezes, dewy cool, caressed:
     'Twixt cypresses and slim palmetto trees,
       Like to the golden oriole's hanging nest,
             Her airy hammock swings,
     And through the dark her mocking-bird yet sings.


     How beautiful she is!  A tulip-wreath
       Twines round her shadowy, free-floating hair:
     Young, weary, passionate, and sad as death,
       Dark visions haunt for her the vacant air,
             While movelessly she lies
     With lithe, lax, folded hands and heavy eyes.


     Full well knows she how wide and fair extend
       Her groves bright-flowered, her tangled everglades,
     Majestic streams that indolently wend
       Through lush savanna or dense forest shades,
             Where the brown buzzard flies
     To broad bayou 'neath hazy-golden skies.


     Hers is the savage splendor of the swamp,
       With pomp of scarlet and of purple bloom,
     Where blow warm, furtive breezes faint and damp,
       Strange insects whir, and stalking bitterns boom--
             Where from stale waters dead
     Oft looms the great-jawed alligator's head.


     Her wealth, her beauty, and the blight on these,--
       Of all she is aware: luxuriant woods,
     Fresh, living, sunlit, in her dream she sees;
       And ever midst those verdant solitudes
             The soldier's wooden cross,
     O'ergrown by creeping tendrils and rank moss.


     Was her a dream of empire? was it sin?
       And is it well that all was borne in vain?
     She knows no more than one who slow doth win,
       After fierce fever, conscious life again,
             Too tired, too weak, too sad,
     By the new light to be stirred or glad.


     From rich sea-islands fringing her green shore,
       From broad plantations where swart freemen bend
     Bronzed backs in willing labor, from her store
       Of golden fruit, from stream, from town, ascend
             Life-currents of pure health:
     Her aims shall be subserved with boundless wealth.


     Yet now how listless and how still she lies,
       Like some half-savage, dusky Indian queen,
     Rocked in her hammock 'neath her native skies,
       With the pathetic, passive, broken mien
             Of one who, sorely proved,
     Great-souled, hath suffered much and much hath loved!


     But look! along the wide-branched, dewy glade
       Glimmers the dawn: the light palmetto-trees
     And cypresses reissue from the shade,
       And SHE hath wakened.  Through clear air she sees
             The pledge, the brightening ray,
     And leaps from dreams to hail the coming day.



SPRING STAR.


                 I.


     Over the lamp-lit street,
     Trodden by hurrying feet,
     Where mostly pulse and beat
         Life's throbbing veins,
     See where the April star,
     Blue-bright as sapphires are,
     Hangs in deep heavens far,
         Waxes and wanes.


     Strangely alive it seems,
     Darting keen, dazzling gleams,
     Veiling anon its beams,
         Large, clear, and pure.
     In the broad western sky
     No orb may shine anigh,
     No lesser radiancy
         May there endure.


     Spring airs are blowing sweet:
     Low in the dusky street
     Star-beams and eye-beams meet.
         Rapt in his dreams,
     All through the crowded mart
     Poet with swift-stirred heart,
     Passing beneath, must start,
         Thrilled by those gleams.


     Naught doth he note anear,
     Fain through Night's veil to peer,
     Reach that resplendent sphere,
         Reading her sign.
     Where point those sharp, thin rays,
     Guiding his weary maze,
     Blesseth she or betrays,
         Who may divine?


     "Guard me, celestial light,
     Lofty, serenely bright:
     Lead my halt feet aright,"
         Prayerful he speaks.
     "For a new ray hath shone
     Over my spirit lone.
     Be this new soul the one
         whom my soul seeks."



                      II.


     Beside her casement oped the maiden sits,
       Where the mild evening spirit of the Spring
     Gently between the city's homesteads flits
       To kiss her brows, and floats on languid wing,
       Vague longings in her breast awakening.
     While her heart trembles 'neath those dim, deep skies,
     As the quick sea that 'neath the globed moon lies.


     Where her eyes rest the full-orbed evening star
       Burns with white flame: it beckons, shrinks, dilates.
     She, dazzled by that shining world afar,
       May not withdraw her gaze: breathless she waits.
       Some promised joy from Heaven's very gates
     Unto her soul seems proffered.  When shall be
     The bright fulfilment of that star's decree?


     Nor glad nor sad is she: she doth not know
       That through the city's throng one threads his way,
     Thrilled likewise by that planet's mystic glow,
       And hastes to seek her.  What sweet change shall sway
       Her spirit at his coming?  What new ray
     Upon his shadowy life from her shall fall?
     The silent star burns on, and knoweth all.



A JUNE NIGHT.


     Ten o'clock: the broken moon
       Hangs not yet a half hour high,
         Yellow as a shield of brass,
     In the dewy air of June,
       Poised between the vaulted sky
         And the ocean's liquid glass.


     Earth lies in the shadow still;
       Low black bushes, trees, and lawn
         Night's ambrosial dews absorb;
     Through the foliage creeps a thrill,
       Whispering of yon spectral dawn
         And the hidden climbing orb.


     Higher, higher, gathering light,
       Veiling with a golden gauze
         All the trembling atmosphere,
     See, the rayless disk grows white!
       Hark, the glittering billows pause!

         Faint, far sounds possess the ear.


     Elves on such a night as this
       Spin their rings upon the grass;
         On the beach the water-fay
     Greets her lover with a kiss;
       Through the air swift spirits pass,
         Laugh, caress, and float away.


     Shut thy lids and thou shalt see
       Angel faces wreathed with light,
         Mystic forms long vanished hence.
     Ah, too fine, too rare, they be
       For the grosser mortal sight,
         And they foil our waking sense.


     Yet we feel them floating near,
       Know that we are not alone,
         Though our open eyes behold
     Nothing save the moon's bright sphere,
       In the vacant heavens shown,
         And the ocean's path of gold.



MAGNETISM.


     By the impulse of my will,
       By the red flame in my blood,
     By me nerves' electric thrill,
       By the passion of my mood,
     My concentrated desire,
       My undying, desperate love,
     I ignore Fate, I defy her,
       Iron-hearted Death I move.
     When the town lies numb with sleep,
       Here, round-eyed I sit; my breath
     Quickly stirred, my flesh a-creep,
       And I force the gates of death.
     I nor move nor speak--you'd deem
       From my quiet face and hands,
     I were tranced--but in her dream,
       SHE responds, she understands.
     I have power on what is not,
       Or on what has ceased to be,
     From that deep, earth-hollowed spot,
       I can lift her up to me.
     And, or ere I am aware
       Through the closed and curtained door,
     Comes my lady white and fair,
       And embraces me once more.
     Though the clay clings to her gown,
       Yet all heaven is in her eyes;
     Cool, kind fingers press mine eyes,
       To my soul her soul replies.
     But when breaks the common dawn,
       And the city wakes--behold!
     My shy phantom is withdrawn,
       And I shiver lone and cold.
     And I know when she has left,
       She is stronger far than I,
     And more subtly spun her weft,
       Than my human wizardry.
     Though I force her to my will,
       By the red flame in my blood,
     By my nerves' electric thrill,
       By the passion of my mood,
     Yet all day a ghost am I.
       Nerves unstrung, spent will, dull brain.
     I achieve, attain, but die,
       And she claims me hers again.



AUGUST MOON.


     Look! the round-cheeked moon floats high,
     In the glowing August sky,
     Quenching all her neighbor stars,
     Save the steady flame of Mars.
     White as silver shines the sea,
     Far-off sails like phantoms be,
     Gliding o'er that lake of light,
     Vanishing in nether night.
     Heavy hangs the tasseled corn,
     Sighing for the cordial morn;
     But the marshy-meadows bare,
     Love this spectral-lighted air,
     Drink the dews and lift their song,
     Chirp of crickets all night long;
     Earth and sea enchanted lie
     'Neath that moon-usurped sky.


     To the faces of our friends
     Unfamiliar traits she lends--
     Quaint, white witch, who looketh down
     With a glamour all her own.
     Hushed are laughter, jest, and speech,
     Mute and heedless each of each,
     In the glory wan we sit,
     Visions vague before us flit;
     Side by side, yet worlds apart,
     Heart becometh strange to heart.


     Slowly in a moved voice, then,
     Ralph, the artist spake again--
     "Does not that weird orb unroll
     Scenes phantasmal to your soul?
     As I gaze  thereon, I swear,
     Peopled grows the vacant air,
     Fables, myths alone are real,
     White-clad sylph-like figures steal
     'Twixt the bushes, o'er the lawn,
     Goddess, nymph, undine, and faun.
     Yonder, see the Willis dance,
     Faces pale with stony glance;
     They are maids who died unwed,
     And they quit their gloomy bed,
     Hungry still for human pleasure,
     Here to trip a moonlit measure.
     Near the shore the mermaids play,
     Floating on the cool, white spray,
     Leaping from the glittering surf
     To the dark and fragrant turf,
     Where the frolic trolls, and elves
     Daintily disport themselves.
     All the shapes by poet's brain,
     Fashioned, live for me again,
     In this spiritual light,
     Less than day, yet more than night.
     What a world! a waking dream,
     All things other than they seem,
     Borrowing a finer grace,
     From yon golden globe in space;
     Touched with wild, romantic glory,
     Foliage fresh and billows hoary,
     Hollows bathed in yellow haze,
     Hills distinct and fields of maize,
     Ancient legends come to mind.
     Who would marvel should he find,
     In the copse or nigh the spring,
     Summer fairies gamboling
     Where the honey-bees do suck,
     Mab and Ariel and Puck?
     Ah! no modern mortal sees
     Creatures delicate as these.
     All the simple faith has gone
     Which their world was builded on.
     Now the moonbeams coldly glance
     On no gardens of romance;
     To prosaic senses dull,
     Baldur's dead, the Beautiful,
     Hark, the cry rings overhead,
     'Universal Pan is dead!'"
     "Requiescant!"  Claude's grave tone
     Thrilled us strangely.  "I am one
     Who would not restore that Past,
     Beauty will immortal last,
     Though the beautiful must die--
     This the ages verify.
     And had Pan deserved the name
     Which his votaries misclaim,
     He were living with us yet.
     I behold, without regret,
     Beauty in new forms recast,
     Truth emerging from the vast,
     Bright and orbed, like yonder sphere,
     Making the obscure air clear.
     He shall be of bards the king,
     Who, in worthy verse, shall sing
     All the conquests of the hour,
     Stealing no fictitious power
     From the classic types outworn,
     But his rhythmic line adorn
     With the marvels of the real.
     He the baseless feud shall heal
     That estrangeth wide apart
     Science from her sister Art.
     Hold! look through this glass for me?
     Artist, tell me what you see?"
     "I!" cried Ralph.  "I see in place
     Of Astarte's silver face,
     Or veiled Isis' radiant robe,
     Nothing but a rugged globe
     Seamed with awful rents and scars.
     And below no longer Mars,
     Fierce, flame-crested god of war,
     But a lurid, flickering star,
     Fashioned like our mother earth,
     Vexed, belike, with death and birth."


     Rapt in dreamy thought the while,
     With a sphinx-like shadowy smile,
     Poet Florio sat, but now
     Spake in deep-voiced accents slow,
     More as one who probes his mind,
     Than for us--"Who seeks, shall find--
     Widening knowledge surely brings
     Vaster themes to him who sings.
     Was veiled Isis more sublime
     Than yon frozen fruit of Time,
     Hanging in the naked sky?
     Death's domain--for worlds too die.
     Lo! the heavens like a scroll
     Stand revealed before my soul;
     And the hieroglyphs are suns--
     Changeless change the law that runs
     Through the flame-inscribed page,
     World on world and age on age,
     Balls of ice and orbs of fire,
     What abides when these expire?
     Through slow cycles they revolve,
     Yet at last like clouds dissolve.
     Jove, Osiris, Brahma pass,
     Races wither like the grass.
     Must not mortals be as gods
     To embrace such periods?
     Yet at Nature's heart remains
     One who waxes not nor wanes.
     And our crowning glory still
     Is to have conceived his will."



SUNRISE.


               September 26, 1881.


     Weep for the martyr!  Strew his bier
     With the last roses of the year;
     Shadow the land with sables; knell
     The harsh-tongued, melancholy bell;
     Beat the dull muffled drum, and flaunt
     The drooping banner; let the chant
     Of the deep-throated organ sob--
     One voice, one sorrow, one heart-throb,
     From land to land, from sea to sea--
     The huge world quires his elegy.
     Tears, love, and honor he shall have,
     Through ages keeping green his grave.
     Too late approved, too early lost,
     His story is the people's boast.
     Tough-sinewed offspring of the soil,
     Of peasant lineage, reared to toil,
     In Europe he had been a thing
     To the glebe tethered--here a king!
     Crowned not for some transcendent gift,
     Genius of power that may lift
     A Caesar or a Bonaparte
     Up to the starred goal of his heart;
     But that he was the epitome
     Of all the people aim to be.
     Were they his dying trust?  He was
     No less their model and their glass.
     In him the daily traits were viewed
     Of the undistinguished multitude.
     Brave as the silent myriads are,
     Crushed by the juggernaut world-car;
     Strong with the people's strength, yet mild,
     Simple and tender as a child;
     Wise with the wisdom of the heart,
     Able in council, field, and mart;
     Nor lacking in the lambent gleam,
     The great soul's final stamp--the beam
     Of genial fun, the humor sane
     Wherewith the hero sports with pain.
     His virtues hold within the span
     Of his obscurest fellow-man.
     To live without reproach, to die
     Without a fear--in these words lie
     His highest aims, for none too high.
     No triumph his beyond the reach
     Of patient courage, kindly speech;
     And yet so brave the soul outbreathed,
     The great example he bequeathed,
     Were all to follow, we should see
     A universal chivalry.


     His trust, the People!  They respond
     From Maine to Florida, beyond
     The sea-walled continent's broad scope,
     Honor his pledge, confirm his hope.
     Hark! over seas the echo hence,
     The nations do him reverence.
     An Empress lays her votive wreath
     Where peoples weep with bated breath.
     The world-clock strikes a fateful hour,
     Bright with fair portents, big with power,--
     The first since history's course has run,
     When kings' and peoples' cause is one;
     Those mourn a brother--these a son!


     O how he loved them!  That gray morn,
     When his wound-wasted form was borne
     North, from the White House to the sea,
     Lifting his tired lids thankfully,
     "How good," he murmured in his pain,
     "To see the people once again!"
     Oh, how they loved him!  They stood there,
     Thronging the road, the street, the square,
     With hushed lips locked in silent prayer,
     Uncovered heads and streaming eyes,
     Breathless as when a father dies.
     The records of the ghostly ride,
     Past town and field at morning-tide.


     When life's full stream is wont to gush
     Through all its ways with boisterous rush,
     --The records note that once a hound
     Had barked, and once was heard the sound
     Of cart-wheels rumbling on the stones--
     And once, mid stifled sobs and groans,
     One man dared audibly lament,
     And cried, "God bless the president!"
     Always the waiting crowds to send
     A God-speed to his journey's end--
     The anxious whisper, brow of gloom,
     As in a sickness-sacred room,
     Till his ear drank with ecstasy
     The rhythmic thunders of the sea.


     Tears for the smitten fatherless,
     The wife's, the mother's life-distress,
     To whom the million-throated moan
     From throne and hut, may not atone
     For one hushed voice, one empty chair,
     One presence missing everywhere.
     But only words of joy and sheer,
     The people from his grave shall hear.
     Were they not worthy of his trust,
     From whose seed sprang the sacred dust?
     He broke the bars that separate
     The humble from the high estate.
     And heirs of empire round his bed
     Mourn with the "disinherited."


     Oh, toil-worn, patient Heart that bleeds,
     Whose martyrdom even his exceeds,
     Wronged, cursed, despised, misunderstood--
     Oh, all-enduring multitude,
     Rejoice! amid you tears, rejoice!
     There issues from this grave a voice,
     Proclaiming your long night is o'er,
     Your day-dawn breaks from shore to shore.
     You have redeemed his pledge, remained
     Secure, erect, and self-sustained,
     Holding more dear one thing alone,
     Even than the blood of dearest son,
     Revering with religious awe
     The inviolable might of Law.



A MASQUE OF VENICE.

                      (A Dream.)


                Not a stain,
     In the sun-brimmed sapphire cup that is the sky--
     Not a ripple on the black translucent lane
     Of the palace-walled lagoon.
                Not a cry
     As the gondoliers with velvet oar glide by,
     Through the golden afternoon.


                From this height
     Where the carved, age-yellowed balcony o'erjuts
     Yonder liquid, marble pavement, see the light
     Shimmer soft beneath the bridge,
                That abuts
     On a labyrinth of water-ways and shuts
     Half their sky off with its ridge.


                We shall mark
     All the pageant from this ivory porch of ours,
     Masques and jesters, mimes and minstrels, while we hark
     To their music as they fare.
                Scent their flowers
     Flung from boat to boat in rainbow radiant showers
     Through the laughter-ringing air.


                See! they come,
     Like a flock of serpent-throated black-plumed swans,
     With the mandoline, viol, and the drum,
     Gems afire on arms ungloved,
                Fluttering fans,
     Floating mantles like a great moth's streaky vans
     Such as Veronese loved.


                But behold
     In their midst a white unruffled swan appear.
     One strange barge that snowy tapestries enfold,
     White its tasseled, silver prow.
                Who is here?
     Prince of Love in masquerade or Prince of Fear,
     Clad in glittering silken snow?


                Cheek and chin
     Where the mask's edge stops are of the hoar-frosts hue,
     And no eyebeams seem to sparkle from within
     Where the hollow rings have place.
                Yon gay crew
     Seem to fly him, he seems ever to pursue.
     'T is our sport to watch the race.


                At his side
     Stands the goldenest of beauties; from her glance,
     From her forehead, shines the splendor of a bride,
     And her feet seem shod with wings,
                To entrance,
     For she leaps into a wild and rhythmic dance,
     Like Salome at the King's.


                'T is his aim
     Just to hold, to clasp her once against his breast,
     Hers to flee him, to elude him in the game.
     Ah, she fears him overmuch!
                Is it jest,--
     Is it earnest? a strange riddle lurks half-guessed
     In her horror of his touch.


                For each time
     That his snow-white fingers reach her, fades some ray
     From the glory of her beauty in its prime;
     And the knowledge grows upon us that the dance
               Is no play
     'Twixt the pale, mysterious lover and the fay--
     But the whirl of fate and chance.


                Where the tide
     Of the broad lagoon sinks plumb into the sea,
     There the mystic gondolier hath won his bride.
     Hark, one helpless, stifled scream!
                Must it be?
     Mimes and minstrels, flowers and music, where are ye?
     Was all Venice such a dream?



AUTUMN SADNESS.


     Air and sky are swathed in gold
         Fold on fold,
     Light glows through the trees like wine.
     Earth, sun-quickened, swoons for bliss
         'Neath his kiss,
     Breathless in a trance divine.


     Nature pauses from her task,
         Just to bask
     In these lull'd transfigured hours.
     The green leaf nor stays nor goes,
         But it grows
     Royaler than mid-June's flowers.


     Such impassioned silence fills
         All the hills
     Burning with unflickering fire--
     Such a blood-red splendor stains
         The leaves' veins,
     Life seems one fulfilled desire.


     While earth, sea, and heavens shine,
         Heart of mine,
     Say, what art thou waiting for?
     Shall the cup ne'er reach the lip,
         But still slip
     Till the life-long thirst give o'er?


     Shall my soul, no frosts may tame,
         Catch new flame
     From the incandescent air?
     In this nuptial joy apart,
         Oh my heart,
     Whither shall we lonely fare?


     Seek some dusky, twilight spot,
         Quite forgot
     Of the Autumn's Bacchic fire.
     Where soft mists and shadows sleep,
         There outweep
     Barren longing's vain desire.



SONNETS.


                       ECHOES.


     Late-born and woman-souled I dare not hope,
     The freshness of the elder lays, the might
     Of manly, modern passion shall alight
     Upon my Muse's lips, nor may I cope
     (Who veiled and screened by womanhood must grope)
     With the world's strong-armed warriors and recite
     The dangers, wounds, and triumphs of the fight;
     Twanging the full-stringed lyre through all its scope.
     But if thou ever in some lake-floored cave
     O'erbrowed by hard rocks, a wild voice wooed and heard,
     Answering at once from heaven and earth and wave,
     Lending elf-music to thy harshest word,
     Misprize thou not these echoes that belong
     To one in love with solitude and song.



                      SUCCESS.


     Oft have I brooded on defeat and pain,
     The pathos of the stupid, stumbling throng.
     These I ignore to-day and only long
     To pour my soul forth in one trumpet strain,
     One clear, grief-shattering, triumphant song,
     For all the victories of man's high endeavor,
     Palm-bearing, laureled deeds that live forever,
     The splendor clothing him whose will is strong.
     Hast thou beheld the deep, glad eyes of one
     Who has persisted and achieved?  Rejoice!
     On naught diviner shines the all-seeing sun.
     Salute him with free heart and choral voice,
     'Midst flippant, feeble crowds of spectres wan,
     The bold, significant, successful man.



                   THE NEW COLOSSUS.*


     Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
     With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
     Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
     A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
     Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
     Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand
     Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
     The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
     "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
     With silent lips.  "Give me your tired, your poor,
     Your huddled masses yearning to be free,
     The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
     Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
     I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

     *Written in aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund, 1883.



                  VENUS OF THE LOUVRE.


     Down the long hall she glistens like a star,
     The foam-born mother of Love, transfixed to stone,
     Yet none the less immortal, breathing on.
     Time's brutal hand hath maimed but could not mar.
     When first the enthralled enchantress from afar
     Dazzled mine eyes, I saw not her alone,
     Serenely poised on her world-worshipped throne,
     As when she guided once her dove-drawn car,--
     But at her feet a pale, death-stricken Jew,
     Her life adorer, sobbed farewell to love.
     Here Heine wept!  Here still we weeps anew,
     Nor ever shall his shadow lift or move,
     While mourns one ardent heart, one poet-brain,
     For vanished Hellas and Hebraic pain.



                       CHOPIN.


                         I.


     A  dream of interlinking hands, of feet
     Tireless to spin the unseen, fairy woof,
     Of the entangling waltz.  Bright eyebeams meet,
     Gay laughter echoes from the vaulted roof.
     Warm perfumes rise; the soft unflickering glow
     Of branching lights sets off the changeful charms
     Of glancing gems, rich stuffs, dazzling snow
     Of necks unkerchieft, and bare, clinging arms.
     Hark to the music!  How beneath the strain
     Of reckless revelry, vibrates and sobs
     One fundamental chord of constant pain,
     The pulse-beat of the poet's heart that throbs.
     So yearns, though all the dancing waves rejoice,
     The troubled sea's disconsolate, deep voice.



                        II.


     Who shall proclaim the golden fable false
     Of Orpheus' miracles?  This subtle strain
     Above our prose-world's sordid loss and gain
     Lightly uplifts us.  With the rhythmic waltz,
     The lyric prelude, the nocturnal song
     Of love and languor, varied visions rise,
     That melt and blend to our enchanted eyes.
     The Polish poet who sleeps silenced long,
     The seraph-souled musician, breathes again
     Eternal eloquence, immortal pain.
     Revived the exalted face we know so well,
     The illuminated eyes, the fragile frame,
     Slowly consuming with its inward flame,
     We stir not, speak not, lest we break the spell.



                         III.


     A voice was needed, sweet and true and fine
     As the sad spirit of the evening breeze,
     Throbbing with human passion, yet divine
     As the wild bird's untutored melodies.
     A voice for him 'neath twilight heavens dim,
     Who mourneth for his dead, while round him fall
     The wan and noiseless leaves.  A voice for him
     Who sees the first green sprout, who hears the call
     Of the first robin on the first spring day.
     A voice for all whom Fate hath set apart,
     Who, still misprized, must perish by the way,
     Longing with love, for that they lack the art
     Of their own soul's expression.  For all these
     Sing the unspoken hope, the vague, sad reveries.



                          IV.


     Then Nature shaped a poet's heart--a lyre
     From out whose chords the lightest breeze that blows
     Drew trembling music, wakening sweet desire.
     How shall she cherish him?  Behold! she throws
     This precious, fragile treasure in the whirl
     Of seething passions; he is scourged and stung,
     Must dive in storm-vext seas, if but one pearl
     Of art or beauty therefrom may be wrung.
     No pure-browed pensive nymph his Muse shall be,
     An amazon of thought with sovereign eyes,
     Whose kiss was poison, man-brained, worldly-wise,
     Inspired that elfin, delicate harmony.
     Rich gain for us!  But with him is it well?
     The poet who must sound earth, heaven, and hell!



SYMPHONIC STUDIES.


               (After Robert Schumann.)


                       Prelude.


     Blue storm-clouds in hot heavens of mid-July
       Hung heavy, brooding over land and sea:
       Our hearts, a-tremble, throbbed in harmony
     With the wild, restless tone of air and sky.
     Shall we not call him Prospero who held
       In his enchanted hands the fateful key
       Of that tempestuous hour's mystery,
     And with him to wander by a sun-bright shore,
       To hear fine, fairy voices, and to fly
     With disembodied Ariel once more
       Above earth's wrack and ruin?  Far and nigh
     The laughter of the thunder echoed loud,
     And harmless lightnings leapt from cloud to cloud.



                          I.


     Floating upon a swelling wave of sound,
       We seemed to overlook an endless sea:
       Poised 'twixt clear heavens and glittering surf were we.
     We drank the air in flight: we knew no bound
     To the audacious ventures of desire.
       Nigh us the sun was dropping, drowned in gold;
       Deep, deep below the burning billows rolled;
     And all the sea sang like a smitten lyre.
     Oh, the wild voices of those chanting waves!
       The human faces glimpsed beneath the tide!
     Familiar eyes gazed from profound sea-caves,
       And we, exalted, were as we had died.
     We knew the sea was Life, the harmonious cry
     The blended discords of humanity.



                          II.


     Look deeper yet: mark 'midst the wave-blurred mass,
       In lines distinct, in colors clear defined,
       The typic groups and figures of mankind.
     Behold within the cool and liquid glass
     Bright child-folk sporting with smooth yellow shells,
       Astride of dolphins, leaping up to kiss
       Fair mother-faces.  From the vast abyss
     How joyously their thought-free laughter wells!
       Lulled by the overwhelming water's sound,
     And some make mouths at dragons, undismayed.
       Oh dauntless innocence!  The gulfs profound
     Reecho strangely with their ringing glee,
     And with wise mermaids' plaintive melody.



                          III.


     What do the sea-nymphs in that coral cave?
       With wondering eyes their supple forms they bend
       O'er something rarely beautiful.  They lend
     Their lithe white arms, and through the golden wave
     They lift it tenderly.  Oh blinding sight!
       A naked, radiant goddess tranced in sleep,
       Full-limbed, voluptuous, 'neath the mantling sweep
     Of auburn locks that kiss her ankles white!
     Upward they bear her, chanting low and sweet:
       The clinging waters part before their way,
     Jewels of flame are dancing 'neath their feet.
       Up in the sunshine, in soft foam, they lay
     Their precious burden, and return forlorn.
     Oh, bliss! oh, anguish!  Mortals, LOVE is born!



                          IV.


     Hark! from unfathomable deeps a dirge
       Swells sobbing through the melancholy air:
       Where Love has entered, Death is also there.
     The wail outrings the chafed, tumultuous surge;
     Ocean and earth, the illimitable skies,
       Prolong one note, a mourning for the dead,
       The cry of souls not to be comforted.
     What piercing music!  Funeral visions rise,
     And send the hot tears raining down our cheek.
       We see the silent grave upon the hill
       With its lone lilac-bush.  O heart, be still!
     She will not rise, she will not stir nor speak.
     Surely, the unreturning dead are blest.
     Ring on, sweet dirge, and knell us to our rest!



                          V.


     Upon the silver beach the undines dance
       With interlinking arms and flying hair;
       Like polished marble gleam their limbs left bare;
     Upon their virgin rites pale moonbeams glance.
     Softer the music! for their foam-bright feet
       Print not the moist floor where they trip their round:
       Affrighted they will scatter at a sound,
     Leap in their cool sea-chambers, nimbly fleet,
     And we shall doubt that we have ever seen,
       While our sane eyes behold stray wreaths of mist,
       Shot with faint colors by the moon-rays kissed,
     Floating snow-soft, snow-white, where these had been.
     Already, look! the wave-washed sands are bare,
     And mocking laughter ripples through the air.



                       Epilogue.


     Forth in the sunlit, rain-bathed air we stepped,
       Sweet with the dripping grass and flowering vine,
       And saw through irised clouds the pale sun shine.
     Back o'er the hills the rain-mist slowly crept
     Like a transparent curtain's slivery sheen;
       And fronting us the painted bow was arched,
       Whereunder the majestic cloud-shapes marched:
     In the wet, yellow light the dazzling green
     Of lawn and bush and tree seemed stained with blue.
       Our hearts o'erflowed with peace.  With smiles we spake
     Of partings in the past, of courage new,
       Of high achievement, of the dreams that make
     A wonder and a glory of our days,
     And all life's music but a hymn of praise.



LONG ISLAND SOUND.


     I see it as it looked one afternoon
     In August,--by a fresh soft breeze o'erblown.
     The swiftness of the tide, the light thereon,
     A far-off sail, white as a crescent moon.
     The shining waters with pale currents strewn,
     The quiet fishing smacks, the Eastern cove,
     The semi-circle of its dark, green grove.
     The luminous grasses, and the merry sun
     In the grave sky; the sparkle far and wide,
     Laughter of unseen children, cheerful chirp
     Of crickets, and low lisp of rippling tide,
     Light summer clouds fantastical as sleep
     Changing unnoted while I gazed thereon.
     All these fair sounds and sights I made my own.



DESTINY.


                         1856.


     Paris, from throats of iron, silver, brass,
     Joy-thundering cannon, blent with chiming bells,
     And martial strains, the full-voiced paean swells.
     The air is starred with flags, the chanted mass
     Throngs all the churches, yet the broad streets swarm
     With glad-eyed groups who chatter, laugh, and pass,
     In holiday confusion, class with class,
     And over all the spring, the sun-floods warm!
     In the Imperial palace that March morn,
     The beautiful young mother lay and smiled;
     For by her side just breathed the Prince, her child,
     Heir to an empire, to the purple born,
     Crowned with the Titan's name that stirs the heart
     Like a blown clarion--one more Bonaparte.


                         1879.


     Born to the purple, lying stark and dead,
     Transfixed with poisoned spears, beneath the sun
     Of brazen Africa!  Thy grave is one,
     Fore-fated youth (on whom were visited
     Follies and sins not thine), whereat the world,
     Heartless howe'er it be, will pause to sing
     A dirge, to breathe a sigh, a wreath to fling
     Of rosemary and rue with bay-leaves curled.
     Enmeshed in toils ambitious, not thine own,
     Immortal, loved boy-Prince, thou tak'st thy stand
     With early doomed Don Carlos, hand in hand
     With mild-browed Arthur, Geoffrey's murdered son.
     Louis the Dauphin lifts his thorn-ringed head,
     And welcomes thee, his brother, 'mongst the dead.



FROM ONE AUGUR TO ANOTHER.


     So, Calchas, on the sacred Palatine,
     Thou thought of Mopsus, and o'er wastes of sea
     A flower brought your message.  I divine
     (Through my deep art) the kindly mockery
     That played about your lips and in your eyes,
     Plucking the frail leaf, while you dreamed of home.
     Thanks for the silent greeting!  I shall prize,
     Beyond June's rose, the scentless flower of Rome.
     All the Campagna spreads before my sight,
     The mouldering wall, the Caesars' tombs unwreathed,
     Rome and the Tiber, and the yellow light,
     Wherein the honey-colored blossom breathed.
     But most I thank it--egoists that we be!
     For proving then and there you thought of me.



THE CRANES OF IBYCUS.


     There was a man who watched the river flow
     Past the huge town, one gray November day.
     Round him in narrow high-piled streets at play
     The boys made merry as they saw him go,
     Murmuring half-loud, with eyes upon the stream,
     The immortal screed he held within his hand.
     For he was walking in an April land
     With Faust and Helen.  Shadowy as a dream
     Was the prose-world, the river and the town.
     Wild joy possessed him; through enchanted skies
     He saw the cranes of Ibycus swoop down.
     He closed the page, he lifted up his eyes,
     Lo--a black line of birds in wavering thread
     Bore him the greetings of the deathless dead!



CRITIC AND POET.


                        An Apologue.


     ("Poetry must be simple, sensuous, or impassioned;
     this man is neither simple, sensuous, nor impassioned;
     therefore he is not a poet.")


     No man had ever heard a nightingale,
     When once a keen-eyed naturalist was stirred
     To study and define--what is a bird,
     To classify by rote and book, nor fail
     To mark its structure and to note the scale
     Whereon its song might possibly be heard.
     Thus far, no farther;--so he spake the word.
     When of a sudden,--hark, the nightingale!


     Oh deeper, higher than he could divine
     That all-unearthly, untaught strain!  He saw
     The plain, brown warbler, unabashed.  "Not mine"
     (He cried) "the error of this fatal flaw.
     No bird is this, it soars beyond my line,
     Were it a bird, 't would answer to my law."



ST. MICHAEL'S CHAPEL.


     When the vexed hubbub of our world of gain
     Roars round about me as I walk the street,
     The myriad noise of Traffic, and the beat
     Of Toil's incessant hammer, the fierce strain
     Of struggle hand to hand and brain to brain,
     Ofttimes a sudden dream my sense will cheat,
     The gaudy shops, the sky-piled roofs retreat,
     And all at once I stand enthralled again
     Within a marble minster over-seas.
     I watch the solemn gold-stained gloom that creeps
     To kiss an alabaster tomb, where sleeps
     A lady 'twixt two knights' stone effigies,
     And every day in dusky glory steeps
     Their sculptured slumber of five centuries.



LIFE AND ART.


     Not while the fever of the blood is strong,
     The heart throbs loud, the eyes are veiled, no less
     With passion than with tears, the Muse shall bless
     The poet-soul to help and soothe with song.
     Not then she bids his trembling lips express
     The aching gladness, the voluptuous pain.
     Life is his poem then; flesh, sense, and brain
     One full-stringed lyre attuned to happiness.
     But when the dream is done, the pulses fail,
     The day's illusion, with the day's sun set,
     He, lonely in the twilight, sees the pale
     Divine Consoler, featured like Regret,
     Enter and clasp his hand and kiss his brow.
     Then his lips ope to sing--as mine do now.



SYMPATHY.


     Therefore I dare reveal my private woe,
     The secret blots of my imperfect heart,
     Nor strive to shrink or swell mine own desert,
     Nor beautify nor hide.  For this I know,
     That even as I am, thou also art.
     Thou past heroic forms unmoved shalt go,
     To pause and bide with me, to whisper low:
     "Not I alone am weak, not I apart
     Must suffer, struggle, conquer day by day.
     Here is my very cross by strangers borne,
     Here is my bosom-sun wherefrom I pray
     Hourly deliverance--this my rose, my thorn.
     This woman my soul's need can understand,
     Stretching o'er silent gulfs her sister hand."



YOUTH AND DEATH.


     What hast thou done to this dear friend of mine,
     Thou cold, white, silent Stranger?  From my hand
     Her clasped hand slips to meet the grasp of thine;
     Here eyes that flamed with love, at thy command
     Stare stone-blank on blank air; her frozen heart
     Forgets my presence.  Teach me who thou art,
     Vague shadow sliding 'twixt my friend and me.
       I never saw thee till this sudden hour.
     What secret door gave entrance unto thee?
       What power in thine, o'ermastering Love's own power?



AGE AND DEATH.


     Come closer, kind, white, long-familiar friend,
       Embrace me, fold me to thy broad, soft breast.
     Life has grown strange and cold, but thou dost bend
       Mild eyes of blessing wooing to my rest.
     So often hast thou come, and from my side
     So many hast thou lured, I only bide
     Thy beck, to follow glad thy steps divine.
       Thy world is peopled for me; this world's bare.
       Through all these years my couch thou didst prepare.
     Thou art supreme Love--kiss me--I am thine!



CITY VISIONS.


                         I.


     As the blind Milton's memory of light,
     The deaf Beethoven's phantasy of tone,
     Wrought joys for them surpassing all things known
     In our restricted sphere of sound and sight,--
     So while the glaring streets of brick and stone
     Vex with heat, noise, and dust from morn till night,
     I will give rein to Fancy, taking flight
     From dismal now and here, and dwell alone
     With new-enfranchised senses.  All day long,
     Think ye 't is I, who sit 'twixt darkened walls,
     While ye chase beauty over land and sea?
     Uplift on wings of some rare poet's song,
     Where the wide billow laughs and leaps and falls,
     I soar cloud-high, free as the the winds are free.



                          II.


     Who grasps the substance? who 'mid shadows strays?
     He who within some dark-bright wood reclines,
     'Twixt sleep and waking, where the needled pines
     Have cushioned all his couch with soft brown sprays?
     He notes not how the living water shines,
     Trembling along the cliff, a flickering haze,
     Brimming a wine-bright pool, nor lifts his gaze
     To read the ancient wonders and the signs.
     Does he possess the actual, or do I,
     Who paint on air more than his sense receives,
     The glittering pine-tufts with closed eyes behold,
     Breathe the strong resinous perfume, see the sky
     Quiver like azure flame between the leaves,
     And open unseen gates with key of gold?



INFLUENCE.


     The fervent, pale-faced Mother ere she sleep,
     Looks out upon the zigzag-lighted square,
     The beautiful bare trees, the blue night-air,
     The revelation of the star-strewn deep,
     World above world, and heaven over heaven.
     Between the tree-tops and the skies, her sight
     Rests on a steadfast, ruddy-shining light,
     High in the tower, an earthly star of even.
     Hers is the faith in saints' and angels' power,
     And mediating love--she breathes a prayer
     For yon tired watcher in the gray old tower.
     He the shrewd, skeptic poet unaware
     Feels comforted and stilled, and knows not whence
     Falls this unwonted peace on heart and sense.



RESTLESSNESS.*


     Would I had waked this morn where Florence smiles,
     A-bloom with beauty, a white rose full-blown,
     Yet rich in sacred dust, in storied stone,
     Precious past all the wealth of Indian isles--
     From olive-hoary Fiesole to feed
     On Brunelleschi's dome my hungry eye,
     And see against the lotus-colored sky,
     Spring the slim belfry graceful as a reed.
     To kneel upon the ground where Dante trod,
     To breathe the air of immortality
     From Angelo and Raphael--TO BE--
     Each sense new-quickened by a demi-god.
     To hear the liquid Tuscan speech at whiles,
     From citizen and peasant, to behold
     The heaven of Leonardo washed with gold--
     Would I had waked this morn where Florence smile!

     *Written before visiting Florence.



THE SPAGNOLETTO.



     DRAMATIS PERSONAE.

     DON JOHN of AUSTRIA.
     JOSEF RIBERA, the Spagnoletto.
     LORENZO, noble young Italian artist, pupil of Ribera.
     DON TOMMASO MANZANO.
     LUCA, servant to Ribera.
     A GENTLEMAN.
     FIRST LORD.
     SECOND LORD.

     MARIA-ROSA, daughter to Ribera.
     ANNICCA, daughter to Ribera, and wife to Don Tommaso.
     FIAMETTA, servant to Maria-Rosa.
     ABBESS.
     LAY-SISTER.
     FIRST LADY.
     SECOND LADY.

     Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen, Servants.


     SCENE--During the first four acts, in Naples; latter part of the
             fifth act, in Palermo.  Time, about 1655.



ACT. I.

     SCENE I.

       The studio of the Spagnoletto. RIBERA at work before his canvas.
       MARIA seated some distance behind him; a piece of embroidery is
       in her hands, but she glances up from it incessantly toward her
       father with impatient movements.


     MARIA.
     Father!
     (RIBERA, absorbed in his work, makes no reply; she puts by her
     embroidery, goes toward him and kisses him gently. He starts,
     looks up at her, and returns her caress).


     RIBERA.
     My child!


     MARIA.
               Already you forget,
     Oh, heedless father!  Did you not promise me
     To lay aside your brush to-day at noon,
     And tell me the great secret?


     RIBERA.
               Ah, 't is true,
     I am to blame.  But it is morning yet;
     My child, wait still a little.


     MARIA.
              'T is morning yet!
     Nay, it was noon one mortal hour ago.
     All patience I have sat till you should turn
     And beckon me.  The rosy angels breathe
     Upon the canvas; I might sit till night,
     And, if I spake not, you would never glance
     From their celestial faces.  Dear my father,
     Your brow is  moist, and yet your hands are ice;
     Your very eyes are tired--pray, rest awhile.
     The Spagnoletto need no longer toil
     As in the streets of Rome for beggars' fare;
     Now princes bide his pleasure.


     RIBERA (throws aside his brush and palette).
              Ah, Maria,
     Thou speak'st in season.  Let me ne'er forget
     Those days of degradation, when I starved
     Before the gates of palaces.  The germs
     Stirred then within me of the perfect fruits
     Wherewith my hands have since enriched God's world.
     Vengeance I vowed for every moment's sting--
     Vengeance on wealth, rank, station, fortune, genius.
     See, while I paint, all else escapes my sense,
     Save this bright throng of phantasies that press
     Upon my brain, each claiming from my hand
     Its immortality.  But thou, my child,
     Remind'st me of mine oath, my sacred pride,
     The eternal hatred lodged within my breast.
     Philip of Spain shall wait.  I will not deign
     To add to-day the final touch of life
     Unto this masterpiece.


     MARIA.
              So! that is well.
     Put by the envious brush that separates
     Father from daughter.  Now you are all mine own.
     And now--your secret.


     RIBERA.
              Mine?  'T is none of mine;
     'T is thine, Maria.  John of Austria
     Desires our presence at his ball to-night.


     MARIA.
     Prince John?


     RIBERA.
              Ay, girl, Prince John.  I looked to see
     A haughty joy dance sparkling in thine eyes
     And burn upon thy cheek.  But what is this?
     Timid and pale, thou droop'st thy head abashed
     As a poor flower-girl whom a lord accosts.


     MARIA.
     Forgive me.  Sure, 't is you Don John desires
     The prince of artists--


     RIBERA.
              Art!  Prate not of art!
     Think'st thou I move an artist 'midst his guests?
     As such I commune with a loftier race;
     Angels and spirits are my ministers.
     These do I part aside to grace his halls;
     A Spanish gentleman--and so, his peer.


     MARIA.
     Father, I am not well; my head throbs fast,
     Unwonted languor weighs upon my frame.


     RIBERA.
     Anger me not, Maria.  'T is my will,
     Thou shalt obey.  Hell, what these women be!
     No obstacle would daunt them in the quest
     Of that which, freely given, they reject.
     Hold!  Haply just occasion bids thee seem
     Unlike thyself.  Speak fearlessly child;
     Confide to me thy knowledge, thy surmise.


     MARIA (hurriedly).
     No, father, you were right.  I have no cause;
     Punish me--nay, forgive, and I obey.


     RIBERA.
     There spake my child; kiss me and be forgiven.
     Sometimes I doubt thou playest upon my love
     Willfully, knowing me as soft as clay,
     Whom the world knows of marble.  In such moods,
     I see my spirit mirror's first, and then
     From thy large eyes thy sainted mother's soul
     Unclouded shine.


     MARIA.
              Can I be like to her?
     I only knew her faded, white, and grave,
     And so she still floats vaguely through my dreams,
     With eyes like your own angels', and a brow
     Worthy an aureole.


     RIBERA.
              An earthly crown,
     My princess, might more fitly rest on thine.
     Annicca hath her colors, blue-black hair,
     And pale, brown flesh, and gray, untroubled eyes;
     Yet thou more often bring'st her to mind,
     For all the tawny gold of thy thick locks,
     Thy rare white face, and brilliant Spanish orbs.
     Thine is her lisping trick of voice, her laugh,
     The blithest music still this side of heaven;
     Thine her free, springing gait, though therewithal
     A swaying, languid motion all thine own,
     Recalls Valencia more than Italy.
     Like and unlike thou art to her, as still
     My memory loves to hold her, as she first
     Beamed like the star of morning on my life.
     Hot, faint, and footsore, I had paced since dawn
     The sun-baked streets of Naples, seeking work,
     Not alms, despite the beggar that I looked.
     Now 't was nigh vespers, and my suit had met
     With curt refusal, sharp rebuff, and gibes.
     Praised be the saints! for every drop of gall
     In that day's brimming cup, I have upheld
     A poisoned beaker to another's lips.
     Many a one hath the Ribera taught
     To fare a vagabond through alien streets;
     A god unrecognized 'midst churls and clowns,
     With kindled soul aflame, and body faint
     Or lack of bread.  Domenichino knows,
     And Gessi, Guido, Annibal Caracci--


     MARIA.
     Dear father, calm yourself.  You had begun
     To tell me how you saw my mother first.


     RIBERA.
     True, I forgot it not.  Why, I AM calm;
     The old man now can well be grave and cold,
     Or laugh at his own youth's indignities,
     Past a long lifetime back.  'T was vespers' hour,
     Or nigh it, when I reached her father's door.
     Kind was his greeting, the first cordial words
     I heard in Naples; but I took small heed
     Of speech or toe, for all my sense was rapt
     In wonder at the angel by his side
     Who smiled upon me.  Large, clear eyes that held
     The very soul of sunlight in their depths;
     Low, pure, pale brow, with masses of black hair
     Flung loosely back, and rippling unconfined
     In shadowy magnificence below
     The slim gold girdle o'er the snow-soft gown.
     Vested and draped about her throat and waist and wrists,
     A stately lily ere the dew of morn
     Hath passed away--such was thy mother, child.


     MARIA.
     Would I were like her!  But what said she, father?
     How did she plead for you?


     RIBERA.
              Ah, cunning child,
     I see thy tricks; thou humorest my age,
     Knowing how much I love to tell this tale,
     Though thou hast heard it half a hundred times.


     MARIA.
     I find it sweet to hear as you to tell,
     Believe me, father.


     RIBERA.
              'T was to pleasure her,
     Signor Cortese gave me all I lacked
     To prove my unfamed skill.  A savage pride,
     Matched oddly with my rags, the haughtiness
     Wherewith I claimed rather than begged my tools,
     And my quaint aspect, oft she told me since,
     Won at a glance her faith.  Before I left,
     She guessed my need, and served me meat and wine
     With  her own flower-white hands.  The parting grace
     I craved was granted, that my work might be
     The portrait of herself.  Thou knowest the rest.


     MARIA.
     Why did she leave us, father?  Oh, how oft
     I yearn to see her face, to hear her voice,
     Hushed in an endless silence!  Strange that she,
     Whose rich love beggared our return, should bear
     Such separation!  Though engirdled now
     By heavenly hosts of saints and seraphim,
     I cannot fancy it.  What! shall her child,
     Whose lightest sigh reechoed in her heart,
     Have need of her and cry to her in vain?


     RIBERA.
     Now, for God's sake, Maria, speak not thus;
     Let me not see such tears upon thy cheek.
     Not unto us it has been given to guess
     The peace of disembodied souls like hers.
     The vanishing glimpses that my fancies catch
     Through heaven's half-opened gates, exalt even me,
     Poor sinner that I am.  And what are these,
     The painted shadows that make all my life
     A glory, to the splendor of that light?
     For thee, my child, has not my doting love
     Sufficed, at least in part, to fill the breach
     Of that tremendous void?  What dost thou lack?
     What help, what counsel, what most dear caress?
     What dost thou covet?  What least whim remains
     Ungratified, because not yet expressed?


     MARIA.
     None, none, dear father!  Pardon me!  Thy love,
     Generous and wise as tender, shames my power
     To merit or repay.  Fie o my lips!
     Look if they be not blistered.  Let them smooth
     With contrite kisses the last frown away.
     We must be young to-night--no wrinkles then!
     Genius must show immortal as she is.


     RIBERA.
     Thou wilt unman me with thy pretty ways.
     I had forgot the ball.  Yea, I grow old;
     This scanty morning's work has wearied me.
     Once I had thought it play to dream all day
     Before my canvas and then dance till dawn,
     And now must I give o'er and rest at noon.
     [Rises.]

       Enter LUCA, ushering in LORENZO, who carries a portfolio.


     LUCA.
     Signor Lorenzo.
     [LORENZO ceremoniously salutes RIBERA and MARIA.  Exit LUCA.]


     LORENZO.
              Master, I bring my sketch.
     [Opens his portfolio and hands a sketch to RIBERA.]


     RIBERA.
     Humph! the design is not so ill-conceived;
     I note some progress; but your drawing's bad--
     Yes, bad, sir.  Mark you how this leg hangs limp,
     As though devoid of life; these hands seem clenched,
     Not loosely clasped, as you intended them.
     [He takes his pencil and makes a few strokes.
     Thus should it stand--a single line will mend.
     And here, what's this?  Why, 't is a sloven's work.
     You dance too many nights away, young gallant.
     You shirk close labor as do all your mates.
     You think to win with service frivolous,
     Snatched 'twixt your cups, or set between two kisses,
     The favor of the mistress of the world.


     LORENZO.
     Your pardon, master, but you do me wrong.
     Mayhap I lack the gift.  Alas, I fear it!
     But not the patience, not the energy
     Of earnest, indefatigable toil,
     That help to make the artist.


     RIBERA.
              'S death!  He dares
     Belie me, and deny the testimony
     Of his own handiwork, whose every line
     Betrays a sluggard soul, an indolent will,
     A brain that's bred to idleness.  So be it!
     Master Lorenzo tells the Spagnoletto
     His own defects and qualities!  'T were best
     He find another teacher competent
     To guide so apt, so diligent a scholar.


     MARIA.
     Dear father, what hath given thee offence?
     Cast but another glance upon the sketch;
     Surely it hath some grace, some charm, some promise.


     RIBERA.
     Daughter, stand by!  I know these insolent slips
     Of young nobility; they lack the stuff
     That makes us artists.  What! to answer me!
     When next I drop a hint as to his colors,
     The lengthening or the shortening of a stroke,
     He'll bandy words with me about his error,
     To prove himself the master.


     LORENZO.
              If my defect
     Be an hereditary grain i' the blood,
     Even as you say, I must abide by it;
     But if patrician habits more than birth
     Beget such faults, then may I dare to hope.
     Not mine, I knew, I felt, to clear new paths,
     To win new kingdoms; yet were I content
     With such achievement as a strenuous will,
     A firm endeavor, unfaltering love,
     And an unwearying spirit might attain.
     Cast me not lightly back.  Banish me not
     From this, my home of hope, of inspiration!


     MARIA.
     What, my ungentle father!  Will you hear,
     And leave this worthy signor's suit unanswered?


     RIBERA.
     Well, he may bide.  Sir, I will speak with you
     Anon upon this work.  I judged in haste.
     Yea, it hath merit.  I am weary now;
     To-morrow I shall be in fitter mood
     To give you certain hints.
     [LORENZO bows his thanks and advances to address MARIA.  RIBERA
     silences and dismisses him with a wave of the hand.  Exit LORENZO.]


     RIBERA.
              Should I o'ersleep
     Mine hour, Maria, thou must awaken me;
     But come what may, I will be fresh to-night,
     To triumph in thy triumph.
     [Exit RIBERA.]


     MARIA (alone).
              Could I have told,
     Then when he bade me?  Nay, what is to tell?
     He had flouted me for prizing at such height
     Homage so slight from John of Austria, even.
     A glance exchanged, a smile, a fallen flower
     Dropped from my hair, and pressed against his lips.
     The Prince! my father gloats upon that name.
     Were he no more than gentleman, I think
     I should be glad.  I cannot tell to-day
     If I be sad or gay.  Now could I weep
     Warm, longing tears; anon, a fire of joy
     Leaps in my heart and dances through my veins.
     Why should I nurse such idle thoughts?  Tonight
     We are to meet again.  Will he remember?--
     Nay, how should he forget?  His heart is young;
     His eyes do mirror loyalty.  Oh, day!
     Quicken thy dull, slow round of tedious hours!
     God make me beautiful this happy night!
     My father's sleeping saint rebukes my thought.
     Strange he has left his work, against his wont,
     Revealed before completed.  I will draw
     The curtain.
     [She stands irresolute before the picture with her hand on the
     curtain.]
              Beautiful, oh, beautiful!
     The far, bright, opened heavens--the dark earth,
     Where the tranced pilgrim lies, with eyelids sealed,
     His calm face flushed with comfortable sleep,
     His weary limbs relaxed, his heavy head
     Pillowed upon the stone.  Oh, blessed dream
     That visits his rapt sense, of airy forms,
     Mounting, descending on the shining ladder,
     With messages of peace.  I will be true
     Unto my lineage divine, and breathe
     The passion of just pride that overfills
     HIS soul inspired.

       While she stands before the canvas, reenter, unperceived by
       her, LORENZO.


     LORENZO.
              Oh, celestial vision!
     What brush may reproduce those magic tints,
     Those lines ethereal?--


     MARIA (turns suddenly).
              Is it not marvellous,
     Signor Lorenzo?  I would draw the curtain,
     But, gazing, I forgot.
              You are the first,
     After the master and myself, to look
     Upon this wonder.


     LORENZO (with enthusiasm, looking for he first time at the picture).
              Ah, what an answer this
     For envious minds that would restrict his power
     To writhing limbs and shrivelled flesh!  Repose,
     Beauty, and large simplicity are here.
     Yes, that is art!  Before such work I stand
     And feel myself a dwarf.


     MARIA.
              There, you are wrong.
     My father even, who knows his proper worth,
     Before his best achievements I have seen
     In like dejection; 't is the curse of genius.
     Oft have I heard the master grace your name
     With flattering addition.


     LORENZO.
              'T is your goodness,
     And not the echo of his praise, that speaks.
     My work was worthless--'t was your generous voice
     Alone secured the master's second glance.


     MARIA.
     Nay, signor, frankly, he esteems your talent.
     Because you are of well-assured means
     And gentle birth, he will be rude to you.
     Not without base is the deep grudge he owes
     To riches and prosperity.


     LORENZO.
              Signora,
     Why do I bear such harsh, injurious terms
     As he affronts me with?  Why must I seem
     In mine own eyes a craven?  Spiritless,
     Dishonorably patient?  'T is not his fame,
     His power, his gift, his venerable years
     That bind me here his willing slave.  Maria,
     'T is thou, 't is thou alone! 'T is that I love thee,
     And exile hence is death!
     [A pause.  He kneels at her feet.  She looks at him kindly but
     makes no reply.]
              At thy dear feet
     I lay my life with its most loyal service,
     The subject of thy pleasure.


     MARIA (tenderly).
              You are too humble.


     LORENZO.
     Too humble!  Do you seek mine utter ruin,
     With words whose very tone is a caress?
     I say all.  I love you!--you have known it.
     Why should I tell you?  Yet, to-day you seem
     Other than you have been.  A milder light
     Beams from your eyes--a gentler grace is throned
     Upon your brow--your words fall soft as dew
     To melt my fixed resolve.


     MARIA.
              You find me, signor,
     In an unguarded mood.  I would be true
     To you; and to myself; yet, know no answer.
     Anon, I will be calm; pray you withdraw.


     LORENZO.
     Till when?  Remember what mad hopes and fears
     Meantime will riot in my brain.


     MARIA.
              To-morrow--
     Farewell, farewell.


     LORENZO (kisses her hand).
              Farewell.
     [Exit.]


     MARIA.
              A faithful heart,
     A name untainted, a fair home--yea, these
     Are what I need.  Oh, lily soul in heaven,
     Who wast on earth my mother, guide thy child!

       While MARIA sits rapt in thought, enter from behind her, ANNICCA,
       who bends over her and kisses her brow.


     ANNICCA.
     What, sister! lost in dreams by daylight?  Fie!
     Who is the monarch of thy thoughts?


     MARIA (starting).
              Annicca!
     My thoughts are bounden to no master yet;
     They fly from earth to heaven in a breath.
     Now are they all of earth.  Hast heard the tidings?


     ANNICCA.
     Yea--of the Prince's ball?  We go together.
     Braid in thy hair our mother's pearls, and wear
     The amulet ingemmed with eastern stones;
     'T will bring good fortune.


     MARIA.
              Tell me, ere we go,
     What manner of man is John of Austria?


     ANNICCA.
     Scarce man at all--a madcap, charming boy;
     Well-favored--you have seen him--exquisite
     In courtly compliment, of simple manners;
     You may not hear a merrier laugh than his
     From any boatman on the bay; well-versed
     In all such arts as most become his station;
     Light in the dance as winged-foot Mercury,
     Eloquent on the zither, and a master
     Of rapier and--


     MARIA.
              A puppet could be made
     To answer in all points your praise of him.
     Hath he no substance as of a man?


     ANNICCA.
              Why, sister,
     What may that be to us?


     MARIA.
              He is our Prince.


     ANNICCA.
     The promise of his youth is to outstrip
     The hero of Lepanto; bright and bold
     As fire, he is the very soul, the star
     Of Spanish chivalry; his last achievement
     Seems still the flower of his accomplishments.
     Musician, soldier, courtier, yea, and artist.
     "He had been a painter, were he not a prince,"
     Says Messer Zurbaran.  The Calderona,
     His actress-mother, hath bequeathed to him
     Her spirit with her beauty, and the power
     To win and hold men's hearts.


     MARIA.
              I knew it, sister!
     His eye hath a command in it; his brow
     Seems garlanded with laurel.


     ANNICCA.
              What is this?
     You kindle with his praise, your whole heart glows
     In light and color on your face, your words
     Take wing and fly as bold as reckless birds.
     What! can so rash a thought, a dream so wild,
     So hopeless an ambition, tempt your soul?


     MARIA.
     Pray you, what thought, what dream, and what ambition?
     I knew not I had uttered any such.


     ANNICCA.
     Nor have you in your speech; your eyes now veiled,
     Where the light leaped to hear me voice his fame,
     Your blushes and your pallor have betrayed
     That which should lie uncounted fathom deep--
     The secret of a woman's foolish heart.


     MARIA.
     And there it lies, my sibyl sister, still!
     Your plummet hath not reached it.  Yes, 't is love
     Flaunts his triumphant colors in my cheek,
     And quickens my lame speech--but not for him,
     Not for the Prince--so may I vaunt his worth
     With a free soul.


     ANNICCA.
              Say on.


     MARIA.
              A gentleman,
     Favored of earth and heaven, true and loving,
     Hath cast his heart at my imperial feet;
     And if to-morrow find me as to-day,
     I will e'en stoop and raise it to mine own.


     ANNICCA.
     Signor Vitruvio?


     MARIA.
              Not he, indeed!
     Did not I say favored of earth and heaven?
     That should mean other gifts than bags of gold,
     Or a straight-featured mask.  Nor will it be
     Any you name, though you should name him right.
     Must it not lie--how many fathom deep--
     The secret of a woman's foolish heart?


     ANNICCA.
     Kiss me, Maria.  You are still a child.
     You cannot vex me, wilful as you be.
     Your choice, I fear not, doubtless 't will prove wise,
     Despite your wild wit, for your heart is pure,
     And you will pause with sure deliberate judgment
     Before you leave our father.


     MARIA.
              Does love steal
     So gently o'er our soul?  What if he come
     A cloud, a fire, a whirlwind, to o'erbear
     The feeble barriers wherewith we oppose him,
     And blind our eyes and wrest from us our reason?
     Fear not, Annicca, for in no such guise
     He visits my calm breast; but yet you speak
     Somewhat too sagely.  Did such cautious wisdom
     Guide your own fancy?


     ANNICCA.
              Jest no more, Maria.
     Since I became a wife, is much made clear,
     Which a brief year ago was dark and vague.
     Tommaso loves me--we are happier
     Then I had dreamed; yet matching now with then,
     I see his love is not that large, rich passion
     Our father bore us.


     MARIA.
              You regret your home?


     ANNICCA.
     No, no!  I have no wish and no regret.
     I speak for you.  His is a sovereign soul,
     And all his passions loom in huger shape
     Than lesser men's.  He brooks no rivalry
     With his own offspring, and toward me his love
     Hath ebbed, I mark, to a more even flow,
     While deeper, stronger, sets the powerful current
     Toward you alone.  Consider this, Maria,
     Nor wantonly discrown that sacred head
     Of your young love to wreathe some curled boy's brow.


     MARIA.
     Think you his wish were that I should not wed?


     ANNICCA.
     Nay, that I say not, for his pride aspires
     To see you nobly mated.


     MARIA (after a pause).
              Him will I wed
     Whose name is ancient, fair, and honorable,
     As the Ribera's is illustrious--
     Him who no less than I will venerate
     That white, divine old head.  In art his pupil,
     In love his son; tender as I to watch,
     And to delay the slow extinguishing
     Of that great light.


     ANNICCA.
              There spake his darling child!


     MARIA.
     What is't o'clock?  If he should sleep too late--
     He bade me rouse him--


     ANNICCA.
              Haste to seek him, then.
     'T is hard on sunset, and he looks for thee
     With his first waking motion.  Till to-night.
     [Exeunt severally.]



     SCENE II.

       A hall in RIBERA'S house.  Enter LUCA and FIAMETTA.


     FIAMETTA.
     But did you see her?


     LUCA.
     Nay, I saw her sister, Donna Annicca.


     FIAMETTA.
     Tush, man! never name her beside my lady Maria-Rosa.  You have lost
     the richest feast in the world for hungry eyes.  Her gown of cloth
     o' silver clad her, as it were, with light; there twinkled about
     her waist a girdle stiff with stones--you would have said they
     breathed.  Mine own hands wreathed the dropping pearls in her hair,
     and pearls again were clasped around her throat.  But no, I might
     tell thee every ornament--her jeweled fan, her comb of pearls, her
     floating veil of gauze, and still the best of all would escape us.


     LUCA.
     Thou speakest more like her page than her handmaiden.


     FIAMETTA.
     Thou knowest not woman truly, for all thy wit.  I speak most like a
     woman when I weigh the worth of beauty and rich apparel.  Heigh-ho!
     I have felt the need of this.  Thou, good Luca, who might have
     been my father, canst understand me?  HE was poor as thou.  Why
     shouldst thou be his lackey, his slave?  My hand were as dainty as
     hers, if it could but be spared its daily labor.


     LUCA.
     Yes, poor child, I understand thee, and yet thou art wrong.  He is
     more slave to pride than I am to him.  I know him well, Fiametta,
     after so many years of service, and to-day I pity him more than I
     fear him.  Why, girl, my task is sport beside his toil!  If my
     limbs be weary, I sleep; but I have seen him sit before his canvas
     with straining eyes and the big beads standing on his brow.  When
     at last he gave o'er, and I have smoothed his pillow, and served
     and soothed him, what sleep could he snatch?  His brain is haunted
     with evil visions, whereof some be merely of his own imaginings,
     and others the phantoms of folk who are living or have lived, and
     who rouse his jealousy or mayhap his remorse, God only knows!  If
     that be genius--to be alive to pain at every pore, to be possessed
     of a devil that robs you of your sleep and grants no space between
     the hours of grinding toil--I thank the saints I am a simple man!


     FIAMETTA.
     I grant thee thou mayst be right concerning him; he hath indeed a
     strange, sour mien.  I shudder when he turns suddenly, as his wont
     is, and bends his evil eyes on me.  The holy father tells me such
     warnings come from God.  No matter how slight the service he asks
     of me, my flesh creeps and my limbs refuse to move, till I have
     whispered an Ave.  But what of Lady Maria-Rosa?  Both heaven and
     earth smile upon her.  To-night she wears a poor girl's dowry, a
     separate fortune, on her head, her neck, her hands, yes, on her
     little jeweled feet.  One tiny shoe of hers would make me free to
     wed my lad.


     LUCA.
     If he have but eyes, I warrant thee he finds jewels enough in thy
     bright face.  Tell me his name.


     FIAMETTA.
     Nay, that is my secret.


     LUCA.
     He must be a poor-souled lad if he will wait till thou hast earned
     a dowry.


     FIAMETTA.
     A poor-souled lad! my good Vicenzo--ah! but no matter; thou knowest
     him, Luca, my Lord Lorenzo's page.  There!--is he poor, or mean, or
     plain, or dull?  He claims no dowry, he--but I have my pride, as well
     as the great ones.


     LUCA.
     May the saints preserve thee from such as theirs!  I am heartily glad
     of thy good fortune.  I am not sure whether thou or Lady Marie-Rosa
     be the most favored.  Well, the end proves all.
     [Exeunt.]

       Enter on one side ANNICCA and DON TOMMASO, attired for the ball;
       on the other side, RIBERA.


     RIBERA.
     What do ye here, my children?  Haste away!
     Maria waits you for the ball; folk say
     'T will be the bravest show e'er seen in Naples.
     I warrant you the Spagnoletto brings
     The richest jewels--what say'st thou, my son?


     DON TOMMASO.
     I who have robbed you of one gem, need scarce
     Re-word, sir, how I prize it.


     RIBERA.
              Why, 't is true.
     Robbed me, thou sayst?  So hast thou.  She was mine--
     The balanced beauty of her flesh and spirit,
     That was my garland, and I was her all,
     Till thou, a stranger, stole her heart's allegiance,
     Suborned--Forgive me, I am old, a father,
     Whose doting passions blind.  I am not jealous,
     Believe me, sir.  When we Riberas give,
     We give without retraction or reserve,
     Were it our life-blood.  I rejoice with thee
     That she is thine; nor am I quite bereft,
     I have some treasure still.  I do repent
     So heartily of my discourteous speech,
     That I will crave your leave before I kiss
     Your wife's soft palm.


     ANNICCA (kissing him repeatedly).
              Why, father, what is this?
     Can Don Tommaso's wife so soon forget
     She is the Spagnoletto's child?


     RIBERA.
              Enough.
     I can bear praise, thou knowest, from all save thee
     And my Maria.  My grave son, I fear,
     Will mock these transports.  Pray go in with me.
     No one of us but has this night a triumph.
     Let us make ready.
     [Exeunt.]



ACT II.

     SCENE I.

       Ball in the Palace of DON JOHN.  Dance.  DON JOHN and MARIA
       together. DON TOMMASO, ANNICCA.  LORDS and LADIES, dancing or
       promenading.


     1st LORD.
     Were it not better to withdraw awhile,
     After our dance, unto the torch-lit gardens?
     The air is fresh and sweet without.


     1st LADY.
              Nay, signor.
     I like this heavy air, rich with warm odors,
     The broad, clear light, the many-colored throng.
     I might have breathed on mine own balcony
     The evening breeze.


     1st LORD.
              Still at cross purposes.
     When will you cease to flout me?


     1st LADY.
              When I prize
     A lover's sigh more dear than mine own pleasure.
     See, the Signora Julia passed again.
     She is far too pale for so much white, I find.
     Donna Aurora--ah, how beautiful!
     That spreading ruff, sprinkled with seeds of gold,
     Becomes her well.  Would you believe it, sir,
     Folk say her face is twin to mine--what think you?


     1st LORD.
     For me, the huge earth holds but one such face.
     You know it well.


     1St LADY.
              The hall is overfilled;
     Go we without.
     [They pass on.]


     2d LADY.
              Thrice he hath danced with her.
     She is not one of us--her face is strange;
     Colored and carven to meet most men's desire--
     Is't not, my lord?  Certes, it loses naught
     For lack of ornament.  Pray, ask her name,
     If but for my sake.


     2d LORD.
              I have already asked.
     She is the daughter to the Spagnoletto,
     Maria-Rosa.


     2d LADY.
              Ah, I might have guessed.
     The form and face are matched with the apparel,
     As in a picture.  'T was the master's hand,
     I warrant you, arranged with such quaint art,
     Such seeming-careless care, the dead, white pearls
     Within her odd, bright hair.
     [They pass on.]


     DON JOHN.
               Now hope, now fear
     Reigned lord of my wild dreams.  One name still sang
     Like the repeated strain of some caged bird,
     Its sweet, persistent music through my brain.
     One vanishing face upon the empty air
     Shone forth and faded night and day.  And you,
     Did you not find me hasty, over-bold?
     Nay, tell me all your thought.


     MARIA.
              You know, my lord,
     I am no courtier, and belike my thought
     Might prove too rustic for a royal ear.


     DON JOHN.
              Speak on, speak on!
     Though you should rail, your voice would still outsing
     Rebeck and mandoline.


     MARIA.
              Is it not strange?
     I knew you not, albeit I might have guessed,
     If only from the simple garb of black,
     And golden collar, 'midst the motley hues
     Of our gay nobles.  I know not what besides,
     But this first won me.  Be not angered, sir;
     But, as I looked, I never ranked you higher
     Than simple gentleman.  I asked your name;
     Then, when you Highness stooped to pick my flower,
     My lord, that moment was my thought a traitor,
     For it had fain discrowned you.


     DON JOHN.
              May God's angels
     Reward such treason.  Say me those words again.
     Let the rich blush born of that dear confession
     Again dye cheek and brow, and fade and melt
     Forever, even as then.


     MARIA.
     We are watched, my lord.
     This is no place, no hour, for words like these.


     DON JOHN.
     When, where then, may we meet?
     [They pass on.]



     SCENE II.

       The Palace Gardens.  Interrupted sounds of music and revelry
       come though the open windows of the ball-room, seen in the
       background.  RIBERA, pacing the stage, occasionally pausing
       to look in upon the dancers.


     RIBERA.
     This is revenge.  Is she not beautiful,
     Ye gods?  The beggar's child matched with a prince!
     Throb not so high, my heart, 'neath envious eyes
     Fixed on thy triumph!  Now am I well repaid
     For my slow, martyred years.  Was I not wrung
     by keener tortures than my savage brush,
     Though dipped in my heart's blood, might reproduce!
     No twisted muscle, no contorted limb,
     No agony of flesh, have I yet drawn,
     That owed not its suggestion to some pang
     Of my  pride crucified, my spirit racked,
     My entrails gnawed by the blind worm of hate,
     Engendered of oppression.  That is past,
     But not forgotten; though to-night I please
     To yield to gentler influence, to own
     The strength of beauty and the power of joy,
     And welcome gracious phantasies that throng
     And hover over me in airy shapes.
     The spirits of earth and heaven contend to-night
     For mastery within me; ne'er before
     Have I been more the Spagnoletto, fired
     With noble wrath, with the consuming fever
     And fierce delight of vengeance.
              From this point
     I see her clearly--the auroral face
     A-light with smiles, the imperial head upraised;
     Her languid hand sways the broad, silken fan,
     Whose wing-like movement stirs above her brow
     The fine, bright curls, as though warm airs of heaven
     Around her breathed.  He leads her 'midst the throng.
     So, they have gone; but I will follow them,
     And watch them from afar.
     [Exit.]

       Enter from the opposite side DON JOHN and MARIA.


     DON JOHN.
              I dread to ask
     What quivers on my lips.  My heart is free,
     But thine?


     MARIA.
     My heart is free, my lord.


     DON JOHN.
              Thank God!


     MARIA.
     It never beat less calmly at the sound
     Of any voice till now.  I laugh to think
     This very morn I fancied it had met
     Its master.


     DON JOHN.
              Ah!


     MARIA.
              Fear naught--a simple boy,
     A pupil of my father's.


     DON JOHN.
              I was mad
     To dream it could be otherwise.  Forgive me;
     I, a mere stranger in they life, am jealous
     Of all thy present and thy past.


     MARIA.
              Listen, my lord;
     You shall hear all.  What hour, think you, he chose
     To urge his cause?  The same wherein I learned
     Your Highness had commanded for to-night
     Our presence.  My winged thoughts were flying back
     To Count Lodovico's; again I saw you,
     My white rose at your lips, your grave eyes fixed
     Most frankly, yet most reverently, on mine.
     Again my heart sank as I heard the name,
     The Prince of Austria; and while I mused,
     He spake of love.  Oh, I am much to blame!
     My mood was soft;--although I promised naught,
     I listened, yea, I listened.  Good, my lord,
     Do you not pity him?


     DON JOHN.
              Thanks, and thanks again,
     For thy confession!  Now no spot remains
     On the unblemished mirror of my faith.
     Since that dear night, I with one only thought
     Have gained the sum of knowledge and opinions
     Touching thine honored father, with such scraps
     As the gross public voice could dole to me
     Concerning thine own far-removed, white life.
     Thou art, I learn, immured in close seclusion;
     Thy father, be it with all reverence said,
     Hedges with jealous barriers his treasure;
     Whilst thou, most duteous, tenderest of daughters,
     Breath'st but for him.


     MARIA.
              Dear father!  Were it so,
     'T were simple justice.  Ah, if you knew him--
     A proud, large, tameless heart.  This is the cloister
     Where he immures me--Naples' gayest revels;
     The only bar wherewith he hedges me
     Is his unbounded trust, that leaves me free.
     Let us go in; the late night air is chill.


     DON JOHN.
     Yet one more dance?


     MARIA.
        You may command, my lord.
     [Exeunt.]

       Enter RIBERA.


     RIBERA.
     I lost them in the press.  Ah, there they dance
     Again together.  I would lay my hands
     In blessing on that darling, haughty head.
     Like the Ribera's child, she bears her honors
     As lightly as a flower.  Yet there glows
     Unwonted lustre in her starry eyes,
     And richer beauty blushes on her cheek.
     Enough.  Now must I strive to fix that form
     That haunts my brain--the blind, old Count Camillo,
     The Prince's oracle. 'Midst the thick throng
     My fancy singled him; white beard, white hair,
     Sealed eyes, and brow lit by an inward light.
     So will I paint mine Isaac blessing Esau,
     While Jacob kneels before him--blind, betrayed
     By his own flesh!

       As RIBERA stands aside, lost in thought, enter DON JOHN and MARIA.


     MARIA.
              See the impatient day
     Wakes in the east.


     DON JOHN.
              One moment here, signora,
     Breathe we the charm of this enchanted night.
     Look where behind yon vines the slow moon sets,
     Hidden from us, while every leaf hangs black,
     Each tender stalk distinct, each curling edge
     Against the silver sky.


     MARIA (perceiving RIBERA).
              What, father! here?


     RIBERA.
     Maria!--Ah, my Prince, I crave your pardon.
     When thus I muse, 't is but my mind that lives;
     Each outward sense is dead.  I saw you not,
     I heard nor voice nor footstep.  Yonder lines
     That streak the brightening sky east warn us away.
     For all your grace to us, the Spagnoletto
     Proffers his thanks to John of Austria.
     My daughter, art thou ready?


     DON JOHN.
              I am bound,
     Illustrious signor, rather unto you
     And the signora, past all hope of payment.
     When may I come to tender my poor homage
     To the Sicilian master?


     RIBERA.
              My lord will jest.
     Our house is too much honored when he deigns
     O'erstep the threshold.  Let your royal pleasure
     Alone decide the hour.


     DON JOHN.
              To-morrow, then.
     Or I should say to-day, for dawn is nigh.


     RIBERA.
     And still we trespass.  Be it as you will;
     We are your servants.


     MARIA.
               So, my lord, good-night.
     [Exeunt MARIA and RIBERA.]


     DON JOHN (alone).
     Gods, what a haughty devil rules that man!
     As though two equal princes interchanged
     Imperial courtesies!  The Spagnoletto
     Thanks John of Austria!  Louis of France
     Might so salute may father.  By heaven, I know not
     What patience or what reverence withheld
     My enchafed spirit in bounds of courtesy.
     Nay, it was she, mine angel, whose mere aspect
     Is balm and blessing.  How her love-lit eyes
     Burned through my soul!  How her soft hand's slight pressure
     Tingled along my veins!  Oh, she is worthy
     A heart' religion!  How shall I wear the hours
     Ere I may seek her?  Lo, I stand and dream,
     While my late guests await me.  Patience, patience!
     [Exeunt.]



     SCENE III.

       Morning twilight in RIBERA'S Garden.  During this scene the day
       gradually breaks, and at the close the full light of morning
       illuminates the stage.  LORENZO.
       AUBADE.


     LORENZO (sings).
       From thy poppied sleep awake;
         From they golden dreams arise;
       Earth and seas new colors take,
         Love-light dawns in rosy skies,
     Weird night's fantastic shadows are outworn;
     Why tarriest thou, oh, sister to the morn?


       Hearken, love! the matin choir
         Of birds salutes thee, and with these
       Blends the voice of my desire.
         Unto no richer promises
     Of deeper, dearer, holier love than mine,
     Canst thou awaken from they dreams divine.


       Lo, thine eastern windows flame,
         Brightening with the brightened sky;
       Rise, and with thy beauty shame
         Morning's regal pageantry,
     To thrill and bless as the reviving sun,
     For my heart gropes in doubt, though night be gone.


     (He speaks.)
     Why should I fear?  Her soul is pledged to mine,
     Albeit she still withheld the binding word.
     How long hath been the night! but morn breathes hope.
     "I fain were true to you and to myself"--
     Did she say thus? or is my fevered brain
     The fool of its desires?  The world swam;
     The blood rang beating in mine ears and roared
     Like rushing waters; yet, as through a dream,
     I saw her dimly.  Surely on her lids
     Shone the clear tears.  As there's a God in heaven,
     She spake those words!  My lips retain the touch
     Of those soft, snow-cold hands, neither refused
     Nor proffered.  Such things ARE, nor can they be
     Forgotten or foreknown.  Yes, she is mine.
     But soft!  Her casement opes.  Oh, joy, 't is she!
     Pale, in a cloud of white she stands and drinks
     The morning sunlight.


     MARIA (above at the window).
              Ah, how sweet this air
     Kisses my sleepless lids and burning temples.
     I am not weary, though I found no rest.
     My spirit leaps within me; a new glory
     Blesses the dear, familiar scene--ripe orchard,
     The same--yet oh, how different!  Even I thought
     Soft music trembled on the listening air,
     As though a harp were touched, blent with low song.
     Sure, that was phantasy.  I will descend,
     Visit my flowers, and see whereon the dew
     Hangs heaviest, and what fairest bud hath bloomed
     Since yester-eve.  Why should I court repose
     And dull forgetfulness, while the large earth
     Wakes no lesser joy than mine?
     [Exit from above.]


     LORENZO.
              Oh, heart!
     How may my breast contain thee, with thy burden
     Of too much happiness?

       Enter MARIA below; LORENZO springs forward to greet her; she
       shrinks back in a sort of terror.


     LORENZO.
              Good-day, sweet mistress.
     May the blithe spirit of this auspicious morn
     Become the genius of thy days to come,
     Whereof be none less beautiful than this.
     Why art thou silent?  Does not love inspire
     Joyous expression, be it but a sigh,
     A song, a smile, a broken word, a cry?
     Thou hast not granted me the promised pledge
     For which I hunger still.  I would confirm
     With dear avowals, frequent seals of love,
     That which, though sure, I yet can scarce believe.


     MARIA.
     Somewhat too sure, I think, my lord Lorenzo.
     I scarce deemed possible that one so shy
     But yester-morn should hold so high a mien,
     Claiming what ne'er was given.


     LORENZO.
              Maria!


     MARIA.
              Sir,
     You are a trifle bold to speak my name
     Familiarly as no man, save my father
     Or my own brother, dares.


     LORENZO.
              Ah, now I see
     Your jest.  You will not seem so lightly won
     Without a wooing?  You will feign disdain,
     Only to make more sweet your rich concession?
     Too late--I heard it all.  "A new light shines
     On the familiar scene."  What may that be,
     Save the strange splendor of the dawn of love?
     Nay, darling, cease to jest, lest my poor heart,
     Hanging 'twixt hell and heaven, in earnest break.


     MARIA.
     Here is no jest, sir, but a fatal error,
     Crying for swift correction.  You surprise me
     With rude impatience, ere I have found time
     To con a gentle answer.  Pardon me
     If any phrase or word or glance of mine
     Hath bred or nourished in your heart a hope
     That you might win my love.  It cannot be.


     LORENZO.
     A word, a glance!  Why, the whole frozen statue
     Warmed into life.  Surely it was not you.
     You must have bribed some angel with false prayers
     To wear your semblance--nay, no angel served,
     But devilish witchcraft--


     MARIA.
              Sir, enough, enough!
     I hoped to find here peace and solitude.
     These lacking, I retire.  Farewell.
     [Going toward the house.]


     LORENZO.
              Signora,
     I will not rob you of your own.  Farewell to you.
     [Exit.]


     MARIA.
     Where have you flown, bright dreams?  Has that rude hand
     Sufficed to dash to naught your frail creations?
     Sad thoughts and humors black now fill my soul.
     So his rough foot hath bruised the dewy grass,
     And left it sere.  Why should his harsh words touch me?
     The truth of yesterday is false to-day.
     How could I know, dear God!  How might I guess
     The bitter sweetness, the delicious pain!
     A new heart fills my breast, as soft and weak
     And melting as a tear, unto its lord;
     But kindled with quick courage to endure,
     If I need front for him, a world of foes.
     If this be love, ah, what a hell is theirs
     Who suffer without hope!  Even I, who hold
     So many dear assurances, who hear
     Still ringing in mine ears such sacred vows,
     Am haunted with an unaccustomed doubt,
     Not wonted to go hand-in-hand with joy.
     A gloomy omen greets me with the morn;
     I, who recoil from pain, must strike and wound.
     What may this mean?  Help me, ye saints of heaven
     And holy mother, for my strength is naught!

       She falls on her knees and bursts into tears.  Reenter LORENZO.


     LORENZO (aside).
     Thank heaven, I came.  How have I wrung her soul!
     A noble love, forsooth! A blind, brute passion,
     That being denied, is swift transformed to hate
     No whit more cruel.  (To Maria.)  Lady!


     MARIA (rising hastily).
              Signor Lorenzo!
     Again what would you with me?


     LORENZO.
              No such suit
     As late I proffered, but your gracious pardon.


     MARIA.
     Rise, sir, forgiven.  I, too, have been to blame,
     Although less deeply than you deemed.  Forbear
     To bind your life.  I feel myself unworthy
     Of that high station where your thoughts enthrone me.
     Yet I dare call myself your friend.
     [Offering him her hand, which LORENZO presses to his lips.]


     LORENZO.
              Thanks, thanks!
     Be blessed, and farewell.
     [Exit.]

       Enter RIBERA, calling.


     RIBERA.
              Daughter! Maria!


     MARIA.
     Why, father, I am here (kissing him).  Good-day.  What will you?


     RIBERA.
     Darling, no more than what I always will.
     Before I enter mine own world removed,
     I fain would greet the dearest work of God.
     I missed you when I rose.  I sought you first
     In your own chamber, where the lattice, oped,
     Let in the morning splendor and smells
     Of the moist garden, with the sound of voices.
     I looked, I found you here--but not alone.
     What man was that went from you?


     MARIA.
              Your disciple,
     My lord Lorenzo.  You remember, father,
     How yester-morn I pleaded for his work;
     Thus he, through gratitude and--love, hath watched
     All night within our garden, while I danced;
     And when I came to nurse my flowers--he spake.


     RIBERA.
     And you?


     MARIA.
              Am I not still beside you, father?
     I will not leave you.


     RIBERA.
              Ah, mine angel-child!
     I cannot choose but dread it, though I wait
     Expectant of the hour when you fulfil
     Your woman's destiny.  You have full freedom;
     Yet I rejoice at this reprieve, and thank thee
     For thy brave truthfulness.  Be ever thus,
     Withholding naught from him whose heart reflects
     Only thine image.  Thou art still my pride,
     Even as last night when all eyes gazed thy way,
     Thy bearing equal in disdainful grace
     To his who courted thee--thy sovereign's son.


     MARIA.
     Yea, so?  And yet it was not pride I felt,
     Nor consciousness of self, nor vain delight
     In the world's envy;--something more than these,
     Far deeper, sweeter--What have I said?  My brain
     Is dull with sleep.  'T is only now I feel
     The weariness of so much pleasure.


     RIBERA (rising).
              Well,
     Go we within.  Yes, I am late to work;
     We squander precious moments.  Thou, go rest,
     And waken with fresh roses in they cheeks,
     To greet our royal guest.
     [Exeunt.]



ACT III.

     SCENE I.

       The studio of the Spagnoletto.  RIBERA before his canvas.  LUCA
       in attendance.


     RIBERA (laying aside his brush).
     So! I am weary.  Luca, what 's o'clock?


     LUCA.
     My lord, an hour past noon.


     RIBERA.
              So late already!
     Well, one more morning of such delicate toil
     Will make it ready for Madrid, and worthy
     Not merely Philip's eyes, but theirs whose glance
     Outvalues a king's gaze, my noble friend
     Velasquez, and the monkish Zurbaran.
     Luca!


     LUCA.
        My lord.


     RIBERA.
              Hath the signora risen?


     LUCA.
     Fiametta passed a brief while since, and left
     My lady sleeping.


     RIBERA.
              Good! she hath found rest;
     Poor child, she sadly lacked it.  She had known
     'Twixt dawn and dawn no respite from emotion;
     Her chill hand fluttered like a bird in mine;
     Her soft brow burned my lips.  Could that boy read
     The tokens of an overwearied spirit,
     Strained past endurance, he had spared her still,
     At any cost of silence.  What is such love
     To mine, that would outrival Roman heroes--
     Watch mine arm crisp and shrivel in quick flame,
     Or set a lynx to gnaw my heart away,
     To save her from a needle-prick of pain,
     Ay, or to please her?  At their worth she rates
     Her wooers--light as all-embracing air
     Or universal sunshine.  Luca, go
     And tell Fiametta--rather, bid the lass
     Hither herself.
     [Exit Luca.]
              He comes to pay me homage,
     As would his royal father, if he pleased
     To visit Naples; yet she too shall see him.
     She is part of all I think, of all I am;
     She is myself, no less than yon bright dream
     Fixed in immortal beauty on the canvas.

       Enter FIAMETTA.


     FIAMETTA.
     My lord, you called me?


     RIBERA.
              When thy mistress wakes,
     Array her richly, that she be prepared
     To come before the Prince.


     FIAMETTA.
              Sir, she hath risen,
     And only waits me with your lordship's leave,
     To cross the street unto St. Francis' church.


     RIBERA (musingly).
     With such slight escort?  Nay, this troubles me.
     Only the Strada's width?  The saints forbid
     That I should thwart her holy exercise!
     Myself will go.  I cannot.  Bid her muffle,
     Like our Valencian ladies, her silk mantle
     About her face and head.
     [At a sign from RIBERA, exit FIAMETTA.]
              Yes, God will bless her.
     What should I fear?  I will make sure her beauty
     Is duly masked.
     [He goes toward the casement.]
              Ay, there she goes--the mantle,
     Draped round the stately head, discloses naught
     Save the live jewel of the eye.  Unless one guessed
     From the majestic grace and proud proportions,
     She might so pass through the high thoroughfares.
     Ah, one thick curl escapes from its black prison.
     Alone in Naples, wreathed with rays of gold,
     Her crown of light betrays her.  So, she's safe!

       Enter LUCA.


     LUCA.
     A noble gentleman of Spain awaits
     The master's leave to enter.


     RIBERA.
             Show him in.
     [Exit LUCA.  RIBERA draws the curtain before his picture of
     "Jacob's Dream."]


     RIBERA.
     A gentleman of Spain!  Perchance the Prince
     Sends couriers to herald his approach,
     Or craves a longer grace.

       Enter LUCA, ushering in DON JOHN unattended, completely enveloped
       in a Spanish mantle, which he throws off, his face almost hidden
       by a cavalier's hat.  He uncovers his head on entering.  RIBERA,
       repressing a movement of surprise, hastens to greet him and kisses
       his hand.


     RIBERA.
              Welcome, my lord!
     I am shamed to think my sovereign's son should wait,
     Through a churl's ignorance, without my doors.


     DON JOHN.
     Dear master, blame him not.  I came attended
     By one page only.  Here I blush to claim
     Such honor as depends on outward pomp.
     No royalty is here, save the crowned monarch
     Of our Sicilian artists.  Be it mine
     To press with reverent lips my master's hand.


     RIBERA.
     Your Highness is too gracious; if you glance
     Round mine ill-furnished studio, my works
     Shall best proclaim me and my poor deserts.
     Luca, uplift you hangings.


     DON JOHN (seating himself).
              Sir, you may sit.


     RIBERA (aside, seating himself slowly).
     Curse his swollen arrogance!  Doth he imagine
     I waited leave of him?
     (Luca uncovers the picture).


     DON JOHN.
              Oh, wonderful!
     You have bettered here your best.  Why, sir, he breathes!
     Will not those locked lids ope?--that nerveless hand
     Regain the iron strength of sinew mated
     With such heroic frame?  You have conspired
     With Nature to produce a man.  Behold,
     I chatter foolish speech; for such a marvel
     The fittest praise is silence.
     [He rises and stands before the picture.]


     RIBERA (after a pause).
              I am glad
     Your highness deigns approve.  Lose no more time,
     Lest the poor details should repay you not.
     Unto your royal home 't will follow you,
     Companion, though unworthy, to the treasures
     Of the Queen's gallery.


     DON JOHN.
              'T is another jewel
     Set in my father's crown, and, in his name,
     I thank you for it.
     [RIBERA bows silently.  DON JOHN glances around the studio.]


     DON JOHN.
              There hangs a quaint, strong head,
     Though merely sketched.  What a marked, cunning leer
     Grins on the wide mouth! what a bestial glance!


     RIBERA.
     'T is but a slight hint for my larger work,
     "Bacchus made drunk by Satyrs."


     DON JOHN.
              Where is that?
     I ne'er have seen the painting.


     RIBERA.
              'T is not in oils,
     But etched in aqua-fortis.  Luca, fetch down
     Yonder portfolio.  I can show your Highness
     The graven copy.
     [LUCA brings forward a large portfolio.  RIBERA looks hastily
     over the engravings and draws one out which he shows to DON JOHN.]


     DON JOHN.
              Ah, most admirable!
     I know not who is best portrayed--the god,
     Plump, reeling, wreathed with vine, in whom abides
     Something Olympian still, or the coarse Satyrs,
     Thoroughly brutish.  Here I scarcely miss,
     So masterly the grouping, so distinct
     The bacchanalian spirit, your rich brush,
     So vigorous in color.  Do you find
     The pleasure in this treatment equals that
     Of the oil painting?


     RIBERA.
              All is in my mood;
     We have so many petty talents, clever
     To mimic Nature's surface.  I name not
     The servile copyists of the greater masters,
     Or of th' archangels, Raphael and Michael;
     But such as paint our cheap and daily marvels.
     Sometimes I fear lest they degrade our art
     To a nice craft for plodding artisans--
     Mere realism, which they mistake for truth.
     My soul rejects such limits.  The true artist
     Gives Nature's best effects with far less means.
     Plain black and white suffice him to express
     A finer grace, a stronger energy
     Than she attains with all the aid of color.
     I argue thus and work with simple tools,
     Like the Greek fathers of our art--the sculptors,
     Who wrought in white alone their matchless types.
     Then dazzled by the living bloom of earth,
     Glowing with color, I return to that,
     My earliest worship, and compose such work
     As you see there.
     [Pointing to the picture.]


     DON JOHN.
              Would it be overmuch,
     In my brief stay in Naples, to beg of you
     A portrait of myself in aqua-fortis?
     'T would rob you, sir, of fewer golden hours
     Than the full-colored canvas, and enrich
     With a new treasure our royal gallery.


     RIBERA.
     You may command my hours and all that's mine.


     DON JOHN (rising).
     Thanks, generous master.  When may I return
     For the first sitting?


     RIBERA.
              I am ready now--
     To-day, to-morrow--when your Highness please.


     DON JOHN.
     'T would be abuse of goodness to accept
     The present moment.  I will come to-morrow,
     At the same hour, in some more fitting garb.
     Your hand, sir, and farewell.  Salute for me,
     I pray you, the signora.  May I not hope
     To see and thank her for her grace to me,
     In so adorning my poor feast?


     RIBERA.
              The debt is ours.
     She may be here to-morrow--she is free,
     She only, while I work, to come and go.
     Pray, sir, allow her--she is never crossed.
     I stoop to beg for her--she is the last
     Who bides with me--I crave you pardon, sir;
     What should this be to you?


     DON JOHN.
              'T is much to me,
     Whose privilege has been in this rare hour,
     Beneath the master to discern the man,
     And thus add friendship unto admiration.
     [He presses RIBERA'S hand and is about to pick up his mantle and
     hat.  LUCA springs forward, and, while he is throwing the cloak
     around the Princes's shoulders, enter hastily MARIA,  enveloped in
     her mantilla, as she went to church.]


     MARIA.
     Well, father, an I veiled and swathed to suit you,
     To cross the Strada?
     [She throws off her mantilla and appears all in white.  She goes
     to embrace her father, when she suddenly perceives the Prince, and
     stands speechless and blushing.]


     RIBERA.
              Child, his Royal Highness
     Prince John of Austria.


     DON JOHN.
              Good-day, signora.
     Already twice my gracious stars have smiled.
     I saw you in the street.  You wore your mantle,
     As the noon sun might wear a veil of cloud,
     Covering, but not concealing.


     MARIA.
              I, sir, twice
     Have unaware stood in your royal presence.
     You are welcome to my father's home and mine.
     I scarce need crave your pardon for my entrance;
     Yourself must see how well assured I felt
     My father was alone.


     DON JOHN.
              And so you hoped
     To find him--shall I read your answer thus?


     RIBERA.
     Nay, press her not.  Your Highness does her wrong,
     So harshly to construe her simpleness.
     My daughter and myself are one, and both
     Will own an equal pleasure if you bide.


     DON JOHN (seating himself).
     You chain me with kind words.


     MARIA.
              My father, sir,
     Hath surely told you our delight and marvel
     At the enchantments of your feast.  For me
     The night was brief, rich, beautiful, and strange
     As a bright dream.


     DON JOHN.
              I will gainsay you not.
     A beauteous soul can shed her proper glory
     On mean surroundings.  I have likewise dreamed,
     Nor am I yet awake.  This morn hath been
     A feast for mind and eye.  Yon shepherd-prince,
     Whom angels visit in his sleep, shall crown
     Your father's brow with a still fresher laurel,
     And link in equal fame the Spanish artist
     With the Lord's chosen prophet.


     RIBERA.
              That may be,
     For in the form of that wayfarer
     I drew myself.  So have I slept beneath
     The naked heavens, pillowed by a stone,
     With no more shelter than the wind-stirred branches,
     While the thick dews of our Valencian nights
     Drenched my rude weeds, and chilled through blood and bone.
     Yet to me also were the heavens revealed,
     And angels visited my dreams.


     DON JOHN.
              How strange
     That you, dear masters, standing on the crown
     Of a long life's continuous ascent,
     Should backward glance unto such dark beginnings.


     RIBERA.
     Obscure are all beginnings.  Yet I muse
     With pleasing pain on those fierce years of struggle.
     They were to me my birthright; all the vigor,
     The burning passion, the unflinching truth,
     My later pencil gained, I gleaned from them.
     I prized them.  I reclaimed their ragged freedom,
     Rather than hold my seat, a liveried slave,
     At the rich board of my Lord Cardinal.
     A palace was a prison till I reared
     Mine own.  But now my child's heart I would pierce
     Sooner than see it bear the least of ills,
     Such as I then endured.


     DON JOHN.
              Donna Maria
     May smile, sir, at your threat; she is in a pleasance,
     Where no rude breezes blow, no shadow falls
     Darker than that of cool and fragrant leaves.
     Yea, were it otherwise--had you not reaped
     The fruit of your own works, she had not suffered.
     Your children are Spain's children.


     RIBERA.
              Sir, that word
     Is the most grateful you have spoken yet.
     Why are thou silent, daughter?


     MARIA (absently).
              What should I say?
     The Prince is kind.  I scarcely heard your words.
     I listened to your voices, and I mused.

     DON JOHN (rising).
     I overstep your patience.


     MARIA.
              You will be gone?
     What have I said?


     RIBERA.
              You are a child, Maria.
     To-morrow I will wait your Highness.


     DON JOHN.
              Thanks.
     To-morrow noon.  Farewell, signora.
     [Exit DON JOHN.]


     RIBERA.
     What ails you, daughter?  You forget yourself.
     Your tongue cleaves to your mouth.  You sit and muse,
     A statue of white silence.  Twice to-day
     You have deeply vexed me.  Go not thus again
     Across the street with that light child, Fiametta.
     Faith, you were closely muffled.  What was this--
     This tell-tale auburn curl that rippled down
     Over the black mantilla?  Were I harsh,
     Suspicious, jealous, fearful, prone to wrath,
     Or anything of all that I am not,
     I should have deemed it no mere negligence,
     But a bold token.


     MARIA.
              Father you make me quail.
     Why do you threat me with such evil eyes?
     Would they could read my heart!


     RIBERA.
              Elude me not.
     Whom have you met beside the Prince this morn?
     Who saw you pass?  Whom have you spoken with?


     MARIA.
     For God's sake, father, what strange thoughts are these?
     With none, with none!  Beside the Prince, you say?
     Why even him I saw not, as you know.
     I hastened with veiled eyes cast on the ground,
     Swathed in my mantle still, I told my beads,
     And in like manner hasted home to you.


     RIBERA.
     Well, it may pass; but henceforth say thy matins
     In thine own room.  I know what vague cloud
     Obscures my sight and weighs upon my brain.
     I am very weary. Luca, follow me.
     [Exeunt RIBERA and LUCA.]


     MARIA.
     Poor father!  Dimly he perceives some trouble
     Within the threatening air.  Thank heaven, I calmed him,
     Yet I spake truth.  What could have roused so soon
     His quick suspicion?  Did Fiametta see
     The wary page slip in my hand the missive,
     As we came forth again?  Nay, even so,
     My father hath not spoken with her since.
     Sure he knows naught; 't is but my foolish fear
     Makes monsters out of shadows.  I may read
     The priceless lines and grave them on my heart.
     [She draws from her bosom a letter, reads it, and presses it to
     her lips.]
     He loves me, yes, he loves me!  Oh, my God,
     This awful joy in mine own breast is love!
     To-night he will await me in our garden.
     Oh, for a word, a pressure of the hand!
     I fly, my prince, at thy most dear behest!
     [Exit.]



     SCENE II.

       A room in DON TOMMASO'S HOUSE.  DON TOMMASO and ANNICCA.


     DON TOMMASO.
     Truly, you wrong your sister; she is young,
     Heedless, and wilful, that is all; a touch
     Of the Ribera's spirit fired the lass.
     Don John was but her weapon of revenge
     Against the malice of our haughty matrons,
     Who hurled this icy shafts of scorn from heights
     Of dignity upon the artist's daughter.


     ANNICCA.
     I cannot think with you.  In her demeanor,
     Her kindled cheek, her melting eye, was more
     Than sly revenge or cautious policy.
     If that was art, it overreached itself.
     Ere the night ended, I had blushed to see
     Slighting regards cast on my father's child,
     And hear her name and his tossed lightly round.


     DON TOMMASO.
     Could you not read in such disparagement
     The envy of small natures?


     ANNICCA.
              I had as lief
     Maria were to dance the tarantella
     Upon the quay at noonday, as to see her
     Gazed at again with such insulting homage.


     DON TOMMASO.
     You are too strict; your baseless apprehensions
     Wrong her far more than strangers' jests.


     ANNICCA.
              Not so;
     My timely fears prevent a greater ill
     And work no harm, since they shall be imparted
     Only to him who hath the power to quell them,
     Dissolving them to air--my father.


     DON TOMMASO.
              How!
     You surely will not rouse his fatal wrath?
     Annicca, listen: if your doubts were true,
     He whose fierce love guards her with sleepless eyes,
     More like the passion of some wild, dumb creature,
     With prowling jealousy and deadly spring,
     Forth leaping at the first approach of ill,
     Than the calm tenderness of human fathers;
     He surely had been keen to scent the danger.
     I saw him at the ball--as is his wont,
     He mingled not among the revellers,
     But like her shadow played the spy on her.


     ANNICCA.
     A word would stir less deeply than you dread.


     DON TOMMASO.
     Ah, there you err; he knows no middle term.
     At once he would accept as fact the worst
     Of your imaginings; his rage would smite
     All near him, and rebound upon himself;
     For, as I learn, Don John brings royal orders
     For the Queen's gallery; he would dismiss
     The Prince as roughly as a begging artist.
     Make no such breach just now betwixt the court
     And our own kindred.


     ANNICCA.
              Be it so, Tommaso.
     I will do naught in haste.


     DON TOMMASO.
              Watch thou and wait.
     A slight reproof might now suffice the child,
     Tame as a bird unto a gentle voice.


     ANNICCA.
     My mind misgives me; yet will I find patience.



     SCENE III.

       Night in RIBERA'S Garden. DON JOHN alone.


     DON JOHN.
     In any less than she, so swift a passion,
     So unreserved, so reckless, had repelled.
     In her 't is godlike.  Our mutual love
     Was born full-grown, as we gazed each on each.
     Nay, 't was not born, but like a thing eternal,
     It WAS ere we had consciousness thereof;
     No growth of slow development, but perfect
     From the beginning, neither doomed to end.
     Her garden breathes her own warm, southern beauty,
     Glowing with dewy and voluptuous bloom.
     Here I am happy--happy to dream and wait
     In rich security of bliss.  I know
     How brief an interval divides us now.
     She hastes to meet me with no less impatience
     Than mine to clasp her in my arms, to press
     Heart unto heart, and see the love within
     The unfathomable depths of her great eyes.
     She comes.  Maria!

       Enter MARIA, half timid, half joyous.


     MARIA.
              My lord! you have been waiting?


     DON JOHN.
     Darling, not long; 't was but my restless love
     That drove me here before the promised hour.
     So were I well content to wait through ages
     Upon the threshold of a joy like this,
     Knowing the gates of heaven might ope to me
     At any moment.


     MARIA.
              Your love is less than mine,
     For I have counted every tedious minute
     Since our last meeting.


     DON JOHN.
              I had rather speak
     Less than the truth to have you chide me thus;
     Yet if you enter in the lists with me,
     Faith match with faith, and loyal heart with heart,
     I warrant you, the jealous god of love,
     Who spies us from yon pomegranate bush,
     Would crown me victor.


     MARIA.
              Why should we compete?
     Who could decide betwixt two equal truths,
     Two perfect faiths?


     DON JOHN.
              The worship of my life
     Will be slight payment for your boundless trust.
     Look we nor forth nor back, are we not happy?
     Heaven smiles above our heads with all her stars.
     The envious day forced us apart, the wing
     Of obscure night protects and shelters us.
     Now like a pure, night-blooming flower, puts forth
     The perfect blossom of our love.  Oh, lean
     Thy royal head upon my breast; assure me
     That this unheard-of bliss is no fond dream.
     Cling to me, darling, till thy love's dear burden
     Take root about my heart-strings.


     MARIA (after a pause).
              Did you not hear
     A sound, a cry?  Oh, God! was it my father?


     DON JOHN.
     Naught save the beating of our hearts I heard.
     Be calm, my love; the very air is hushed.
     Listen, the tinkle of the fountain yonder,

     The sleepy stir of leaves, the querulous pipe
     Of some far bird--no more.


     MARIA.
              I heard, I heard!
     A rude voice called me.  Wherefore did it come
     To snatch me from that dream of restful love?
     Oh, Juan, you will save me, you will help,--
     Tell me you will--I have lost all for you!


     DON JOHN.
     To-morrow you will laugh at fears like these.
     You have lost naught--you have but won my love.
     Lose not your faith in that--your shield and weapon.


     MARIA.
     I tremble still in every limb.  Good-night,
     I must be gone.  To-morrow when you come,
     Be wary with my father; he is fierce
     In love and hatred.  Listen and look, my lord.
     If one dared say to me but yester-morn
     That I would meet at night a stranger youth
     In mine own garden, talk with him of love,
     And hint a thought against the Spagnoletto,
     I had smitten with this bauble such a one.
     [Pointing to a jewelled poniard in her belt.]
     Kiss me, my Juan, once again.  Good-night.
     [Exit MARIA.]



     SCENE IV.

       The studio.  RIBERA and ANNICCA.


     ANNICCA.
     Has he come often?


     RIBERA.
              Nay, I caught the trick
     Of his fair face in some half-dozen sittings.
     His is a bold and shapely head--it pleased me.
     I like the lad; the work upon his portrait
     Was pastime--'t is already nigh complete.


     ANNICCA.
     And has Maria sat here while you worked?


     RIBERA (sharply).
     Why not?  What would'st thou say?  Speak, fret me not
     With ticklish fears.  Is she not by my side,
     For work or rest?


     ANNICCA.
              Surely, I meant no harm.
     Father, how quick you are!  I had but asked
     If she, being here, had seen the work progress,
     And found it his true counterpart.


     RIBERA.
              Annicca,
     There is something in your thought you hold from me.
     Have the lewd, prying eyes, the slanderous mind
     Of public envy, spied herein some mischief?
     What hast thou heard?  By heaven, if one foul word
     Have darkened the fair fame of my white dove,
     Naples shall rue it.  Let them not forget
     The chapel of Saint Januarius!


     ANNICCA (aside).
     Tommaso judged aright. I dare not tell him.
     Dear father, listen.  Pray, be calm.  Sit down;
     Your own hot rage engenders in my mind
     Thoughts, fears, suspicions.


     RIBERA (seating himself).
     I am foolish, hasty; but it makes me mad.
     Listen to me.  Here sits the Prince before me;
     We talk, we laugh.  We have discussed all themes,
     From the great Angelo's divinity,
     Down to the pest of flies that fret us here
     At the day's hottest.  Sometimes he will pace
     The studio--such young blood is seldom still.
     He brought me once his mandoline, and drew
     Eloquent music thence.  I study thus
     The changeful play of soul.  I catch the spirit
     Behind the veil, and burn it on the plate.
     Maria comes and goes--will sit awhile
     Over her broidery, then will haste away
     And serve us with a dish of golden fruit.
     That is for me; she knows the sweet, cool juice,
     After long hours of work, refreshes me
     More than strong wine.  She meets his Royal Highness
     As the Ribera's child should meet a Prince--
     Nor over bold, nor timid; one would think
     Their rank was equal, and that neither sprang
     From less than royal lineage.


     ANNICCA.
              Why, I know it.
     Here is no need to excuse or justify.
     Speak rather of your work--is the plate finished?


     RIBERA.
     So nigh, that were Don John to leave to-morrow,
     It might go with him.


     ANNICCA.
              What! he leaves Naples?


     RIBERA.
     Yea, but I know not when; he seems to wait
     Momently, orders from his Majesty
     To travel onward.


     ANNICCA (aside).
              Would he were well away!


     RIBERA.
     What do you mutter?  I grow deaf this side.


     ANNICCA.
     I spake not, father.  I regret with you
     The Prince should leave us; you have more enjoyed
     His young companionship than any strangers
     These many years.


     RIBERA.
              Well, well, enough of him.
     He hath a winning air--so far, so good.
     I know not that I place more trust in him
     Than in another.  'T is a lying world;
     I am too old now to be duped or dazzled
     By fair externals.

       Enter MARIA, carrying a kirtle full of flowers.


     MARIA.
              Father, see! my roses
     Have blossomed over night; I bring you some
     To prank your study.  Sister, Don Tommaso
     Seeks you below.


     ANNICCA (rising).
              I will go to meet him.  Father,
     Until to-morrow.
     [Embraces MARIA and exits.  MARIA sits by her father's side and
     displays her flowers.]


     RIBERA.
              Truly, a gorgeous show!
     Pink, yellow, crimson, white--which is the fairest?
     Those with the deepest blush should best become you--
     Nay, they accord not with your hair's red gold;
     The white ones suit you best--pale, innocent,
     So flowers too can lie!  Is not that strange?
     [MARIA looks at him in mingled wonder and affright.  He roughly
     brushes aside all the flowers upon the floors, than picks one up
     and carefully plucks it to pieces.]
     I think not highly of your flowers, girl;
     I have plucked this leaf; it has no heart.
     See there!
     [He laughs contemptuously.]


     MARIA.
              What have I done?  Alas! what mean you?
     Have you then lost your reason?


     RIBERA.
              Nay, but found it.
     I, who was dull of wit, am keen at last.
     "Don John is comely," and "Don John is kind;"
     "A wonderful musician is Don John,"
     "A princely artist"--and then, meek of mien,
     You enter in his presence, modest, simple.
     And who beneath that kitten grace had spied
     The claws of mischief?  Who!  Why, all the world,
     Save the fond, wrinkled, hoary fool, thy father.
     Out, girl, for shame!  He will be here anon;
     Hence to your room--he shall not find you here.
     Thank God, thank God! no evil hath been wrought
     That may not be repaired.  I have sat by
     At all your meetings.  You shall have no more;
     Myself will look to that.  Away, away!
     [Exit Maria.]


     RIBERA (looks after her).
     As one who has received a deadly hurt,
     She walks.  What if my doubts be false?  The terror
     Of an unlooked-for blow, a treacherous thrust
     When least expected--that is all she showed.
     On a false charge, myself had acted thus.
     She had been moved far otherwise if guilty;
     She had wept, protested, begged--she had not left
     With such a proud and speechless show of grief.
     I was too harsh, too quick on slight suspicion.
     What did Annicca say?  Why, she said naught.
     'T was her grave air, her sudden reticence,
     Her ill-assumed indifference.  They play on me;
     They know me not.  They dread my violent passions,
     Not guessing what a firm and constant bridle
     I hold them with.  On just cause to be angered,
     Is merely human.  Yet they sound my temper;
     They try to lead me like some half-tamed beast,
     That must be coaxed.  Well, I may laugh thereat.
     But I am not myself to-day; strange pains
     Shoot through my head and limbs and vex my spirit.
     Oh, I have wronged my child!  Return, Maria!
     [Exit, calling.]



ACT IV.

     SCENE I.

       Night. RIBERA'S bedroom.  RIBERA discovered in his dressing-gown,
       seated reading beside a table, with a light upon it. Enter from
       an open door at the back of the stage, MARIA. She stands
       irresolute for a moment on the threshold behind her father,
       watching him, passes her hand rapidly over her brow and eyes,
       and then knocks.


     MARIA.
     May I come in, dear father?


     RIBERA (putting down his book and looking at her affectionately).
              Child, you ask?


     MARIA (advancing).
     You study late.  I came to bid good-night.


     RIBERA.
     Poor child, thou must be weary.  Thou art pale
     Still from thy swoon.


     MARIA (with a forced laugh).
              I had forgotten it.
     Nay, I am well again.


     RIBERA.
              But I forget it not,
     Neither forgive myself.  Well, it is past,
     Enough!  When the Prince left I sent for thee;
     Thou wast still sleeping?


     MARIA (with confusion).
              Yes, I was outworn.
     What didst thou wish of me?


     RIBERA.
              Merely to tell thee
     Don John leaves Naples.  He expressed regret
     Most courteously that thou wast suffering.
     He had fain ordered us his parting thanks
     For our kind welcome--so he deigned to say.
     To-morrow he may steal a moment's grace
     To see us both once more; but this is doubtful,
     So he entrusted his farewells to me.


     MARIA.
     May peace go with him.


     RIBERA.
              We are alone--
     Are we not, darling?  Thanks for the calm content
     Wherewith thou biddest him farewell, to nestle
     Once more in mine embrace.  Not long, I feel,
     May these old horny eyes be blest with sight
     Of thy full-flowering grace, these wrinkled lips
     Be pressed against thy brow.  I am no more
     What I have been; at times both hand and brain
     Refuse their task.  Myself will follow soon--
     The better part of me already dead.
     So the worm claims us by slow torture, child.
     Thou'lt bear with me, if as to-day I wrong
     Thy gentle spirit?


     MARIA.
              Father, no more, no more!
     You break my heart.


     RIBERA.
              Mine angel-child, weep not
     So bitterly.  I thought not thus to move thee.
     Still thou art overwrought.  I would have asked
     At last a promise of thee.  I am selfish,
     But I would sleep less startingly o'nights,
     And bear a calmer soul by day, were I secure
     That thou wilt bide with me until the end.
     [A pause.]
     To-night I will not press thee.  Thou art weary;
     Thy nerves have scarce regained their tension yet;
     But from thy deep emotion I can see
     'T will cost thee less than I have feared.  To-morrow
     We will talk of this again.


     MARIA.
              To-morrow!


     RIBERA.
              Now,
     Good-night.  'T is time thou shouldst be sleeping.


     MARIA.
              Father,
     I cannot leave thee!  Every word of thine
     Gnaws like a burning coal my sore, soft heart.
     What! thou shalt suffer, and thine own Maria
     Will leave thee daughterless, uncomforted?
     What! thou shalt weep, and other eyes than mine
     Shall see the Spagnoletto's spirit broken?


     RIBERA.
     There, there, poor child!  Look up, cling not so wildly
     About my neck.  Thou art too finely touched,
     If thus the faint foreshadow of a grief
     Can overcome thee.  Listen?  What was that?


     MARIA (starts up, shudders violently, and, all at once, masters
           her emotion).
     Why, I heard nothing, father.


     RIBERA.
              Yes, a sound
     Of footsteps, and a stifled call.
     [He goes toward the casement.  MARIA tries to detain him.]


     MARIA.
              Dear father,
     Surely 't was naught.  Your ears deceive you.
     The wind is rising, and you heard the leaves
     Rustling together.


     RIBERA.
              Nay, I will look forth.
     [He opens the casement and looks out in silence.  MARIA stands
     behind him, with her hands clasped in an agony of fear.]


     RIBERA (calling).
     Hist, answer!  Who goes there? (a pause.)  No sound.  Thou'rt right,
     Maria; I see naught; our garden lies
     Vacant and still, save for the swaying branches
     Of bush and tree.  'T is a wild, threatening night.
     A sultry breeze is blowing, and the sky
     Hangs black above Vesuvius.  Yonder cloud
     Hath lightnings in it.  Ah, a blinding bolt
     Dims the volcano's pillared fire.  Enough.
     [He closes the casement and returns to MARIA.]
     Hark, how the thunder rolls!  My child, you tremble
     Like the blown leaves without.


     MARIA.
              I am oppressed
     By the same stormy influence.  Thou knowest
     I dread the thunder.


     RIBERA.
              Thou, who art safely housed,
     Why shouldst thou dread it?  Try to sleep, my darling;
     Forget the terror of the tempest; morn
     Will break again in sunshine.


     MARIA.
              Father, say
     You love me and you trust me once again,
     Before I bid good-night.


     RIBERA.
              If it will calm thee,
     I love thee and I trust thee.  Thou art to me
     My genius--thou, the breathing image still
     Of thy saint-mother, whom the angels guard.
     Even as thou standest now, vested in white,
     With glowing eyes and pale, unsmiling face,
     I see her as she stood the day her heart
     Went forth from home and kin to bless the stranger
     Who craved her father's alms.


     MARIA.
              Thanks, thanks.  Good-night.
     God bless us through these wild, dark hours.


     RIBERA.
              Good-night.



     SCENE II.

       RIBERA'S garden.  Half the sky illuminated by an over-clouded
       moon, the rest obscured by an approaching storm.  Occasional
       thunder and lightning.  On on side of the stage a summer-house
       open to the audience, on the other side the exterior of the
       dwelling.  DON JOHN discovered waiting near the house.  The door
       opens, and enter MARIA.


     DON JOHN (springing forward and embracing her).
     At last! at last!


     MARIA.
              Juan, beware!  My father's fears,
     I cannot guess by whom or what, are roused.
     [She extends her arms gropingly to embrace him.]
     Oh, let me feel thee near me--I see naught.
     Follow me; here our voices may be heard.
     [She hastens towards the summer-house, leaning upon his arm,
     and sinks upon a seat.]
     Have not slow ages passed with crowding woes
     Since we last met!  What have I not endured!
     Oh, Juan, save me!


     DON JOHN.
              Dearest child, be calm.
     Thou art strangely overwrought.  Speak not.  Await
     Till this wild fear be past.


     MARIA.
              How great you are!
     Your simple presence stills and comforts me.
     While you are here, the one thing real to me
     In all the universe is love.


     DON JOHN.
              And yet
     My love is here, if I be far or nigh.
     Is this the spirit of a soldier's wife?
     Nay, fiery courage, iron fortitude,
     That soul must own that dares to say, "I love."


     MARIA.
     And I dare say it.  I can bear the worst
     That envious fate may heap upon my head,
     If thou art with me, or for hope of thee.


     DON JOHN.
     Art sure of that?  Thou couldst not part from me,
     Even for thy father's sake?


     MARIA.
              Talk you of parting?
     For God's sake, what is this?  You love no more?


     DON JOHN.
     Rather I love so truly that I shrink
     From asking thee to share a soldier's fate.
     I tremble to uproot so fine a flower
     From its dear native earth.  I--


     MARIA (putting her hand on his lips).
              Hush, no more!
     I need no preparation more than this,
     Your mere request.


     DON JOHN.
              There spake my heroine.
     The King, my father, bids me to repair
     Unto Palermo.


     MARIA.
              Shall we sail to-night?


     DON JOHN.
     My Princess!  Thou recoilest not from all
     Thou must endure, ere I can openly
     Claim thee my wife!


     MARIA.
              The pangs of purgatory
     Were lightly borne with such a heaven in view.
     I were content with one brief hour a day,
     Snatched from the toils of war and thy high duties,
     To gaze on thy dear face--to feel thy hand,
     Even as now a stay and a caress.


     DON JOHN.
     Angel, I have no thanks.  May God forget me
     When I forget this hour!  So, thou art firm--
     Ready this night to leave thy home, thy kin,
     Thy father?


     MARIA (solemnly).
              I am ready and resolved.
     Yet judge me not so lightly as to deem
     I say this with no pang.  My love were naught,
     Could I withdraw it painlessly at once
     From him round whose colossal strength the tendrils
     Of mine own baby heart were taught to twine.
     I speak not now as one who swerves or shrinks,
     But merely, dear, to show thee what sharp tortures
     I, nowise blind, but with deliberate soul,
     Embrace for thee.


     DON JOHN.
              How can I doubt the anguish
     So rude a snapping of all ties must smite
     Thy tender heart withal?  Yet, dwell we not
     On the brief pain, but on the enduring joys.
     If Ribera's love be all thou deemest,
     He will forgive thy secret flight, thy--


     MARIA.
              Secret!
     May I not bid farewell?  May I not tell him
     Where we are bound?  How soon he may have hope
     To hear from me--to welcome me, thy Princess?
     I dare not leave him without hope.


     DON JOHN.
              My child,
     Thou art mad!  We must be secret as the grave,
     Else are we both undone.  I have given out
     That I depart in princely state to-morrow.
     Far from the quay a bark awaiteth us.
     I know my man.  Shrouded by careful night,
     We will set secret sail for Sicily.
     Once in Palermo, thou mayst write thy father--
     Sue for his pardon--tell him that, ere long,
     When I have won by cautious policy
     King Philip's favor, thou shalt be proclaimed
     Princess of Austria.


     MARIA (who has hung upon his words with trembling excitement,
           covers her face with her hands, and bursts into tears).
              I cannot! no! I cannot!


     DON JOHN (scornfully).
     I feared as much.  Well, it is better thus.
     I asked thee not to front the "worst of ills
     That envious fate could heap upon thy head"--
     Only a little patience.  'T was too much;
     I cannot blame thee.  'T is a loving father.
     I, a mere stranger, had naught else to hope,
     Matching my claim with his.


     MARIA (looks at him and throws herself at his feet).
              Oh, pardon, pardon!
     My Lord, my Prince, my husband!  I am thine!
     Lead wheresoe'er thou wilt, I follow thee.
     Tell me a life's devotion may efface
     The weakness of a moment!


     DON JOHN (raising her tenderly and embracing her).
     Ah, mine own!



     SCENE III.

       Morning.  The studio.  Enter RIBERA.


     RIBERA.
     How laughingly the clear sun shines to-day
     On storm-drenched green, and cool, far-glittering seas!
     When she comes in to greet me, she will blush
     For last night's terrors.  How she crouched and shuddered
     At the mere thought of the wild war without!
     Poor, clinging women's souls, what need is theirs
     Of our protecting love!  Yet even on me
     The shadow of the storm-cloud seemed to breed.
     Through my vexed sleep I heard the thunder roll;
     My dreams were ugly--Well, all that is past;
     To-day my spirit is renewed.  'T is long
     Since I have felt so fresh.
     [He seats himself before his easel and takes up his brush and
     palette, but holds them idly in his hand.]
              Strange, she still sleeps!
     The hour is past when she is wont to come
     To bless me with the kiss of virgin love.
     Mayhap 't was fever in her eyes last night
     Gave them so wild a glance, so bright a lustre.
     God! if she should be ill!
     [He rises and calls.]
     Luca!

     Enter LUCA.


     LUCA.
              My lord?


     RIBERA.
     Go ask Fiametta if the mistress sleeps--
     If she be ailing--why she has not come
     This morn to greet me.
     [Exit LUCA.]


     RIBERA (begins pacing the stage).
             What fond fears are these
     Mastering my spirit?  Since her mother died
     I tremble at the name of pain or ill.
     How can my rude love tend, my hard hand soothe,
     The dear child's fragile--
     [A confused cry without.]
              What is that?  My God!
     How hast thou stricken me!
     [He staggers and falls into a chair.  Enter hastily FIAMETTA,
     weeping, and LUCA with gestures of terror and distress.]


     FIAMETTA.
              Master!


     LUCA.
              Dear master!
     [RIBERA rises with a great effort and confronts them.]


     RIBERA.
     What is it?  Speak!


     LUCA.
              Dear master, she is gone.


     RIBERA.
     How?  Murdered--dead?  Oh, cruel God!  Away!
     Follow me not!
     [Exit RIBERA.]


     FIAMETTA.
              Help, all ye saints of heaven.
     Have pity on him!  Oh, what a day is this!


     LUCA.
     Quiet, Fiametta.  When the master finds
     The empty, untouched bed, the silent room,
     His wits will leave him.  Hark! was that his cry?

       Reenter RIBERA calling.


     Maria! Daughter! Where have they taken thee,
     My only one, my darling?  Oh, the brigands!
     Naples shall bleed for this.  What do ye here,
     Slaves, fools, who stare upon me?  Know ye not
     I have been robbed?  Hence!  Ransack every house
     From cave to roof in Naples.  Search all streets.
     Arrest whomso ye meet.  Let no sail stir
     From out the harbor.  Ring the alarum!  Quick!
     This is a general woe.
     [Exeunt LUCA and FIAMETTA.]
              The Duke's my friend;
     He'll further me.  The Prince--oh, hideous fear!--
     No, no, I will not dream it.  Mine enemies
     Have done this thing; the avengers of that beggar--
     Domenichino--they have struck home at last.
     How was it that I heard no sound, no cry,
     Throughout the night?  The heavens themselves conspired
     Against me--the hoarse thunder drowned her shrieks!
     Oh, agony!
     [He buries his face in his hands.  Enter ANNICCA; she throws
     herself speechless and weeping upon his neck.]
              Thou knowest it, Annicca!
     The thief has entered in the night--she's gone.
     I stand and weep; I stir not hand or foot.
     Is not the household roused?  Do they not seek her?
     I am helpless, weak; an old man overnight.
     The brigands' work was easy.  I heard naught.
     But surely, surely, had they murdered her,
     I had heard that--that would have wakened me
     From out my grave.


     ANNICCA.
              Father, she is not dead.


     RIBERA (wildly).
     Where have they found her?  What dost thou know?  Speak, speak,
     Ere my heart break!


     ANNICCA.
              Alas! they have not found her;
     But that were easy.  Nerve thyself--remember
     Thou art the Spagnoletto still.  Last night
     Don John fled secretly from Naples.


     RIBERA.
              Ah!
     Give me a draft of water.
     [He sinks down on his chair.]


     ANNICCA (calling).
              Help, Tommaso!
     Luca! Fiametta! Father, lookup, look up!
     Gaze not so hollowly.

       Enter DON TOMMASO and SERVANTS.

              Quick! water, water!
     Do ye not see he swoons?
     [She kneels before her father, chafing and kissing his hands. Exit
     LUCA, who returns immediately with a silver flagon of water. ANNICCA
     seizes it and raises it to RIVERA'S lips.  He takes it from her hand
     and drinks.]


     RIBERA.
              How your hand trembles!
     See, mine is firm.  You had spilt it o'er my beard
     Had I not saved it.  Thanks.  I am strong again.
     I am very old for such a steady grasp.
     Why, girl, most men as hoary as thy father
     Are long since palsied.  But my firm touch comes
     From handling of the brush.  I am a painter,
     The Spagnoletto--
     [As he speaks his name he suddenly throws off his apathy, rises
     to his full height, and casts the flagon to the ground.]
              Ah, the Spagnoletto,
     Disgraced, abandoned!  My exalted name
     The laughing-stock of churls; my hearthstone stamped
     With everlasting shame; my pride, my fame,
     Mine honor--where are they?  With yon spilt water,
     Fouled in the dust, sucked by the thirsty air.
     Now, by Christ's blood, my vengeance shall be huge
     As mine affront.  I will demand full justice
     From Philip.  We will treat as King with King.
     HE shall be stripped of rank and name and wealth,
     Degraded, lopped from off the fellowship
     Of Christians like a rotten limb, proclaimed
     The bastard that he is.  She shall go with him,
     Linked in a common infamy, haled round,
     A female Judas, who betrayed her father,
     Her God, her conscience, with a kiss.  Her shadow
     Shall be my curse.  Cursed be her sleep by night,
     Accursed her light by day--her meat and drink!
     Accursed the fruit of her own womb--the grave
     Where she will lie!  Cursed--Oh, my child, my child!
     [He throws himself on the floor and buries his head among the
     cushions of the couch. DON TOMMASO advances and lays his hand
     on RIBERA'S shoulder.]


     DON TOMMASO.
     Mine honored sir--


     RIBERA (looks up without rising).
              Surely you mock me, signor.
     Honored!  Yes, honored with a rifled home,
     A desecrated heart, a strumpet child.
     For honors such as these, I have not stinted
     Sweat, blood, or spirit through long years of toil.
     I have passed through peril scathless; I was spared
     When Naples was plague-stricken; I have 'scaped
     Mine enemies' stiletto--fire and flood;
     I have survived my love, my youth, my self,
     My thrice-blest Leonora, whom I pitied,
     Fool that I was! in her void, silent tomb.
     The God of mercy hath reserved me truly
     For a wise purpose.


     ANNICCA.
              Father, rise; take courage;
     We know not yet the end.


     RIBERA.
              Why should I rise
     To front the level eyes of men's contempt?
     Oh, I am shamed!  Cover my head, Annicca;
     Darken mine eyes, and veil my face.  Oh, God,
     Would that I were a nameless, obscure man,
     So could I bury with me my disgrace,
     That now must be immortal.  Where thou standest,
     Annicca, there she stood last night.  She kissed me;
     Round mine old neck she wreathed her soft, young arms.
     My wrinkled cheeks were wet with her warm tears.
     She shuddered, and I thought it was the thunder
     Struck terror through her soul.  White-bearded fool!


     FIAMETTA.
     I found this scrip upon the chamber-floor,
     Mayhap it brings some comfort.


     RIBERA (starts up and snatches the paper she offers him, reads
            it rapidly, then to ANNICCA wildly).
              Look, look there--
     'T is writ in blood: "My duty to my lord
     Forbids my telling you our present port."
     I would track her down with sleuth-hounds, did I not
     Abhor to see her face.  Ah, press thy hands
     Against my head--my brain is like to burst--
     My throat is choked.  Help! help!
     [He swoons.]



     SCENE IV.

       A street.  Enter LORENZO and a GENTLEMAN, meeting.  They salute,
       and LORENZO is about to pass on.


     LORENZO.
     Good-morning, sir.


     GENTLEMAN.
              Hail and farewell so soon,
     Friend dreamer?  I will lay a goodly sum
     The news that flies like fire from tongue to tongue
     Hath not yet warmed thine ear.


     LORENZO.
              What's that?  I lay
     A sum as fair thy news is some dry tale
     Of courtly gossip, touching me as nigh
     As the dissensions of the antipodes.


     GENTLEMAN.
     Done for a hundred florins!  In the night,
     'Midst the wild storm whose roar must have invaded
     Even thy leaden sleep, Prince John left Naples.
     We should have had a pageant here to-day,
     A royal exit, floral arches thrown
     From house to house in all the streets he passed,
     Music and guard of honor, homage fitting
     The son of Philip--but the bird has flown.


     LORENZO.
     So!  I regret our busy citizens,
     Who sun themselves day-long upon the quays,
     Should be deprived of such a festival.
     Your wager's lost--how am I moved by this?

     GENTLEMAN.
     Hark to the end.  'T would move all men whose veins
     Flow not clear water.  He hath carried off
     The Rose of Naples.


     LORENZO.
              What wouldst thou say?  Speak out!
     In God's name, who hath followed him?


     GENTLEMAN.
              Ah, thou'rt roused.
     Thy master hath been robbed--the Spagnoletto--
     Maria of the Golden Locks--his daughter.


     LORENZO.
     How is this known?  'T is a foul slander forged
     By desperate malice.  What! in the night, you say?--
     She whose bright name was clean as gold, whose heart
     Shone a fixed star of loyal love and duty
     Beside her father's glory!  This coarse lie
     Denies itself.  I will go seek the master,
     And if this very noon she walk not forth,
     Led by the Spagnoletto, through the streets,
     To blind the dazed eyes of her slanderers,--
     I am your debtor for a hundred florins.


     GENTLEMAN.
     Your faith in womanhood becomes you, sir.
     (Aside.) A beggar's child the mistress of a Prince;
     Humph! there be some might think the weight of scandal
     Lay on the other side.  (To Lorenzo.) You need not forth
     To seek her father.  See, he comes, alone.
     I will not meddle in the broil.  Farewell!
     [Exit Gentleman.]

       Enter RIBERA, without hat or mantle, slowly, with folded arms
       and bent head.


     LORENZO.
     Oh heart, break not for pity!  Shall he thus
     Unto all Naples blazon his disgrace?
     This must not be (advancing).  Father!


     RIBERA (starts and looks up sharply).
              Who calls me father?


     LORENZO.
     Why, master, I--you know me not?  Lorenzo.


     RIBERA.
     Nor do I care to know thee.  Thou must be
     An arrant coward, thus to league with foes
     Against so poor a wretch as I--to call me
     By the most curst, despised, unhallowed name
     God's creatures can own.  Away! and let me pass;
     I injure no man.


     LORENZO.
              Look at me, dear master.
     Your head is bare, your face is ashy pale,
     The sun is fierce.  I am your friend, your pupil;
     Let me but guide my reverend master home,
     In token of the grateful memory
     Wherein I hold his guidance of my mind
     Up the steep paths of art.
     [While LORENZO speaks, RIBERA slowly gains consciousness of his
     situation, raises his hand to his head and shudders violently.
     LORENZO'S last words seem to awaken him thoroughly.]


     RIBERA.
              I crave your pardon
     If I have answered roughly, Sir Lorenzo.
     My thoughts were far away--I failed to know you--
     I have had trouble, sir.  You do remind me,
     I had forgot my hat; that is a trifle,
     Yet now I feel the loss.  What slaves are we
     To circumstance!  One who is wont to cover
     For fashion or for warmth his pate, goes forth
     Bareheaded, and the sun will seem to smite
     The shrinking spot, the breeze will make him shiver,
     And yet our hatless beggars heed them not.
     We are the fools of habit.

       Enter two gentlemen together as promenading; they cross the stage,
       looking hard at RIBERA and LORENZO, and exeunt.


     LORENZO.
              Pray you, sir
     Let me conduct you home.  Here is no place
     To hold discourse.  In God's name, come with me.


     RIBERA.
     What coupled staring fools were they that passed?
     They seemed to scare thee.  Why, boy, face them out.
     I am the shadow of the Spagnoletto,
     Else had I brooked no gaze so insolent.
     Well, I will go with thee.  But, hark thee, lad;
     A word first in thine ear.  'T is a grim secret;
     Whisper it not in Naples; I but tell thee,
     Lest thou should fancy I had lost my wits.
     My daughter hath deserted me--hath fled
     From Naples with a bastard.  Thou hast seen her,
     Maria-Rosa--thou must remember her;
     She, whom I painted as Madonna once.
     She had fair hair and Spanish eyes.  When was it?
     I came forth thinking I might meet with her
     And find all this a dream--a foolish thought!
     I am very weary.  (Yawning.)  I have walked and walked
     For hours.  How far, sir, stand we from the Strada
     Nardo?  I live there, nigh Saint Francis' church.

     LORENZO.
     Why, 't is hard by; a stone's throw from this square.
     So, lean on me--you are not well.  This way.
     Pluck up good heart, sir; we shall soon be there.
     [Exeunt.]



     SCENE V.

       Night.  A Room in RIBERA'S House.  ANNICCA seated alone, in an
       attitude of extreme weariness and despondency.


     ANNICCA.
     His heavy sleep still lasts.  Despite the words
     Of the physician, I can cast not off
     That ghastly fear.  Albeit he owned no drugs,
     This deathlike slumber, this deep breathing slow,
     His livid pallor makes me dread each moment
     His weary pulse will cease.  This is the end,
     And from the first I knew it.  The worst evil
     My warning tongue had wrought were joy to this.
     No heavier curse could I invoke on her
     Than that she see him in her dreams, her thoughts,
     As he is now.  I could no longer bear it;
     I have fled hither from his couch to breathe--
     To quicken my spent courage for the end.
     I cannot pray--my heart is full of curses.
     He sleeps; he rests.  What better could I wish
     For his rent heart, his stunned, unbalanced brain,
     Than sleep to be eternally prolonged?

       Enter FIAMETTA.  ANNICCA looks up anxiously, half rising.


     ANNICCA.
     How now?  What news?


     FIAMETTA.
              The master is awake
     And calls for you, signora.


     ANNICCA.
     Heaven be praised!
     [Exit hastily.]


     FIAMETTA.
     Would I had followed my young mistress!  Here
     I creep about like a scared, guilty thing,
     And fancy at each moment they will guess
     'T was I who led her to the hut.  I will confess,
     If any sin there be, to Father Clement,
     And buy indulgence with her golden chain.
     'T would burn my throat, the master's rolling eyes
     Would haunt me ever, if I went to wear it.
     So, all will yet be well.
     [Exit.]



     SCENE VI.

       RIBERA'S Room.  RIBERA discovered sitting on the couch. He looks
       old and haggard, but has regained his natural bearing and
       expression.  Enter ANNICCA.  She hastens towards him, and kneels
       beside the couch, kissing him affectionately.


     ANNICCA.
     Father, you called me?


     RIBERA.
              Aye, to bid good-night.
     Why do you kiss me?  To betray to-morrow?


     ANNICCA.
     Dear father, you are better; you have slept.
     Are you not rested?


     RIBERA.
              Child, I was not weary.
     There was some cloud pressed here (pointing to his forehead) but
        that is past,
     I have no pain nor any sense of ill.
     Now, while my brain is clear, I have a word
     To speak.  I think not I have been to thee,
     Nor to that other one, an unkind father.
     I do not now remember any act,
     Or any word of mine, could cause thee grief.
     But I am old--perchance my memory
     Deceives in this?  Speak!  Am I right, Annicca?


     ANNICCA (weeping).
     Oh, father, father, why will you torture me?
     You were too good, too good.


     RIBERA.
              Why, so I thought.
     Since it appears the guerdon of such goodness
     Is treachery, abandonment, disgrace,
     I here renounce my fatherhood.  No child
     Will I acknowledge mine.  Thou art a wife;
     Thy duty is thy husband's.  When Antonio
     Returns from Seville, tell him that his father
     Is long since dead.  Henceforward I will own
     No kin, no home, no tie.  I will away,
     To-morrow morn, and live an anchorite.
     One thing ye cannot rob me of--my work.
     My name shall still outsoar these low, mirk vapors--
     Not the Ribera, stained with sin and shame,
     As she hath left it, but the Spagnoletto.
     My glory is mine own.  I have done with it,
     But I bequeath it to my country.  Now
     I will make friends with beasts--they'll prove less savage
     Than she that was my daughter.  I have spoken
     For the last time that word.  Thee I curse not;
     Thou hast not set thy heel upon my heart;
     But yet I will not bless thee.  Go.  Good-night.


     ANNICCA (embracing him).
     What! will you spurn me thus?  Nay, I will bide,
     And be to thee all that she should have been,
     Soothe thy declining years, and heal the wound
     Of this sharp sorrow.  Thou shalt bless me still,
     Father--
     [RIBERA has yielded for a moment to her embrace; but, suddenly
     rising, he pushes her roughly from him.]


     RIBERA.
     Away!  I know thee.  Thou art one
     With her who duped me with like words last night.
     Then I believed; but now my sense is closed,
     My heart is dead as stone.  I cast thee forth.
     By heaven, I own thee not!  Thou dost forget
     I am the Spagnoletto.  Away, I say,
     Or ere I strike thee.
     [He threatens her.]


     ANNICCA.
             Woe is me!  Help, help!
     [Exit.]


     RIBERA.
     So, the last link is snapt.  Had I not steeled
     My heart, I fain had kissed her farewell.
     'T is better so.  I leave my work unfinished.
     Could I arise each day to face this spectre,
     Or sleep with it at night?--to yearn for her
     Even while I curse her?  No!  The dead remain
     Sacred and sweet in our remembrance still;
     They seem not to have left us; they abide
     And linger nigh us in the viewless air.
     The fallen, the guilty, must be rooted out
     From heart and thought and memory.  With them
     No hope of blest reunion; they must be
     As though they had not been; their spoken name
     Cuts like a knife.  When I essay to think
     Of what hath passed to-day, my sick brain reels.
     The letter I remember, but all since
     Floats in a mist of horror, and I grasp
     No actual form.  Did I not wander forth?
     A mob surrounded me.  All Naples knew
     My downfall, and the street was paved with eyes
     That stared into my soul.  Then friendly hands
     Guided me hither.  When I woke, I felt
     As though a stone had rolled from off my brain.
     But still this nightmare bides the truth.  I know
     They watch me, they suspect me.  I will wait
     Till the whole household sleep, and then steal forth,
     Nor unavenged return.



ACT V.

     SCENE I.

       A Room in DON TOMMASO'S House.  ANNICCA discovered, attired in
       mourning.  Enter DON TOMMASO.


     DON TOMMASO.
     If he still live, now shall we hear of him.
     The news I learn will lure him from his covert,
     Where'er it lie, to pardon or avenge.


     ANNICCA (eagerly).
     What news?  What cheer, Tommaso?


     DON TOMMASO.
              Meagre cheer,
     But tidings that break through our slow suspense,
     Like the first thunder-clap in sultry air.
     Don John sets sail from Sicily, to wed
     A Princess chosen by the King.  Maria--


     ANNICCA.
     Talk not of her--I know her not; her name
     Will sear thy tongue.  Think'st thou, in truth this news
     Will draw my father from his hiding-place?
     No--teach me not to hope.  Within my heart
     A sure voice tells me he is dead.  Not his
     The spirit to drag out a shameful life,
     To shrink from honest eyes, to sink his brow
     Unto the dust, here where he wore his crown.
     Thou knowest him.  Have I not cause to mourn
     Uncomforted, that he, the first of fathers,
     Self-murdered--nay, child-murdered--Oh, Tommaso,
     I would fare barefoot to the ends of the earth
     To look again upon his living face,
     See in his eyes the light of love restored--
     Not blasting me with lightnings as before--
     To kneel to him, to solace him, to win
     For mine own head, yoked in my sister's curse
     The blessing he refused me.


     DON TOMMASO.
              Well, take comfort;
     This grace may yet be thine.



     SCENE II.

       Palermo.  A Nunnery.  Enter ABBESS, followed by a Lay-Sister.


     ABBESS.
     Is the poor creature roused?


     LAY-SISTER.
              Nay, she still sleeps.
     'T would break your pious heart to see her, mother.
     She begged our meanest cell, though 't is past doubt
     She has been bred to delicate luxury.
     I deemed her spent, had not the soft breast heaved
     As gently as a babe's and even in dreams
     Two crystal drops oozed from her swollen lids,
     And trickled down her cheeks.  Her grief sleeps not,
     Although the fragile body craves its rest.


     ABBESS.
     Poor child!  I fear she hath sore need of prayer.
     Hath she yet spoken?


     LAY-SISTER.
              Only such scant words
     Of thanks or answer as our proffered service
     Or questionings demand.  When we are silent,
     Even if she wake, she seemeth unaware
     Of any presence.  She will sit and wail,
     Rocking upon the ground, with dull, wide eyes,
     Wherefrom the streaming tears unceasing course;
     The only sound that then escapes her lips
     Is, "Father, Father!" in such piteous strain
     As though her rent heart bled to utter it.


     ABBESS.
     Still she abides then by her first request
     To take the black veil and its vows to-morrow?


     LAY-SISTER.
     Yea, to that purpose desperately she clings.
     This evening, if she rouse, she makes confession.
     Even now a holy friar waits without,
     Fra Bruno, of the order of Carthusians,
     Beyond Palermo.


     ABBESS.
              I will speak with him,
     Ere he confess her, since we know him not.
     Follow me, child, and see if she have waked.
     [Exeunt.]



     SCENE III.

       A Cell in the Nunnery.  MARIA discovered asleep on a straw
       pallet.  She starts suddenly from her sleep with a little cry,
       half rises and remains seated on her pallet.


     MARIA.
     Oh, that wild dream!  My weary bones still ache
     With the fierce pain; they wrenched me limb from limb.
     Thou hadst full cause, my father.  But thou, Juan,
     What was my sin to thee, save too much love?
     Oh, would to God my back were crooked with age,
     My smooth cheek seamed with wrinkles, my bright hair
     Hoary with years, and my quick blood impeded
     By sluggish torpor, so were I near the end
     Of woes that seem eternal!  I am strong--
     Death will not rescue me.  Within my veins
     I feel the vigorous pulses of young life,
     Refusing my release.  My heart at times
     Rebels against the habit of despair,
     And, ere I am aware, has wandered back,
     Among forbidden paths.  What prayer, what penance,
     Will shrive me clean before the sight of heaven?
     My hands are black with parricide.  Why else
     Should his dead face arise three nights before me,
     Bleached, ghastly, dripping as of one that's drowned,
     To freeze my heart with horror?  Christ, have mercy!
     [She covers her face with her hands in an agony of despair.]

       Enter a MONK.


     THE MONK.
     May peace be in this place!
     [MARIA shudders violently at the sound of his voice; looks up and
     sees the MONK with bent head, and hands partially extended, as one
     who invokes a blessing.  She rises, falls at his feet, and takes the
     hem of his skirt between her hands, pressing it to he lips.]


     MARIA.
               Welcome, thrice welcome!
     Bid me not rise, nor bless me with pure hands.
     Ask not to see my face.  Here let me lie,
     Kissing the dust--a cast-away, a trait'ress,
     A murderess, a parricide!


     MONK.
              Accursed
     With all Hell's curses is the crime thou nam'st!
     What devil moved thee?  Who and whence art thou,
     That wear'st the form of woman, though thou lack'st
     The heart of the she-wolf?  Who was thy parent,
     What fiend of torture, that thine impious hands
     Should quench the living source of thine own life?


     MARIA.
     Spare me! oh, spare me!  Nay, my hands are clean.
     He was the first, best, noblest among men.
     I was his light, his soul, his breath of life.
     These I withdrew from him, and made his days
     A darkness.  Yet, perchance he is not dead,
     And blood and tears may wash away my guilt.
     Oh, tell me there is hope, though it gleam far--
     One solitary ray, one steadfast spark,
     Beyond a million years of purgatory!
     My burning soul thirsts for the dewy balm
     Of comfortable grace.  One word, one word,
     Or ere I perish of despair!


     MONK.
              What word?
     The one wherewith thou bad'st thy father hope?
     What though he be not dead?  Is breathing life?
     Hast thou not murdered him in spirit? dealt
     The death-blow to his heart?  Cheat not thy soul
     With empty dreams--thy God hath judged ye guilty!


     MARIA.
     Have pity, father!  Let me tell thee all.
     Thou, cloistered, holy and austere, know'st not
     My glittering temptations.  My betrayer
     Was of an angel's aspect.  His were all gifts,
     All grace, all seeming virtue.  I was plunged,
     Deaf, dumb, and blind, and hand-bound in the deep.
     If a poor drowning creature craved thine aid,
     Thou wouldst not spurn it.  Such a one am I,
     And all the waves roll over me.  Wrest me from my doom!
     Say not that I am lost!


     MONK.
              I can but say
     What the just Spirit prompts.  Myself am naught
     To pardon or condemn.  The sin is sinned;
     The fruit forbid is tasted, yea, and pressed
     Of its last honeyed juices. Wilt thou now
     Escape the after-bitterness with prayers,
     Scourgings, and wringings of the hands?  Shall these
     Undo what has been done?--make whole the heart
     Thy crime hath snapt in twain?--restore the wits
     Thy sin hath scattered?  No!  Thy punishment
     Is huge as thine offence.  Death shall not help,
     Neither shall pious life wash out the stain.
     Living thou'rt doomed, and dead, thou shalt be lost,
     Beyond salvation.


     MARIA (springing to her feet).
              Impious priest, thou liest!
     God will have mercy--as my father would,
     Could he but see me in mine agony!
     [The MONK throws back his cowl and discovers himself as the
     SPAGNOLETTO.  MARIA utters a piercing cry and throws herself
     speechless at his feet.]


     RIBERA.
     Thou know'st me not.  I am not what I was.
     My outward shape remains unchanged; these eyes,
     Now gloating on thine anguish, are the same
     That wept to see a shadow cross thy brow;
     These ears, that drink the music of thy groans,
     Shrank from thy lightest sigh of melancholy.
     Thou think'st to find the father in me still?
     Thy parricidal hands have murdered him--
     Thou shalt not find a man.  I am the spirit
     Of blind revenge--a brute, unswerving force.
     What deemest thou hath bound me unto life?
     Ambition, pleasure, or the sense of fear?
     What, but the sure hope of this fierce, glad hour,
     That I might track thee down to this--might see
     Thy tortured body writhe beneath my feet,
     And blast thy stricken spirit with my curse?


     MARIA (in a crushed voice).
     Have mercy! mercy!


     RIBERA.
              Yes, I will have mercy--
     The mercy of the tiger or the wolf,
     Athirst for blood.


     MARIA (terror-struck, rises upon her knees in an attitude of
           supplication.  RIBERA averts his face).
              Oh, father, kill me not!
     Turn not away--I am not changed for thee!
     In God's name, look at me--thy child, thine own!
     Spare me, oh, spare me, till I win of Heaven
     Some sign of promise!  I am lost forever
     If I die now.


     RIBERA (looks at her in silence, then pushing her from him laughs
            bitterly).
              Nay, have no fear of me.
     I would not do thee that much grace to ease thee
     Of the gross burden of the flesh.  Behold,
     Thou shalt be cursed with weary length of days;
     And when thou seek'st to purge thy guilty heart,
     Thou shalt find there a sin no prayer may shrive--
     The murder of thy father.  To all dreams
     That haunt thee of past anguish, shall be added
     The vision of this horror!
     [He draws from his girdle a dagger and stabs himself to the heart;
     he falls and dies, and MARIA flings herself, swooning upon his body.]





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