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Title: 'England and Yesterday' - A Book of Short Poems
Author: Guiney, Louise Imogen
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  “And we sail on, away, afar,
   Without a course, without a star,
   But by the instinct of sweet music driven.”
                           SHELLEY: _Prometheus Unbound._





PAGE 10. Third line: read _haunt_ for _haunts_.

PAGE 26. Tenth and eleventh lines: omit the word _no_.

[Transcriber’s Note: These changes have been made to the text.]



Is Inscribed to His Friend and Mine,



  GLOUCESTER HARBOR                            9
  LEONORE                                     12
  A BALLAD OF METZ                            14
  PRIVATE THEATRICALS                         21
  DIVINATION BY AN EASTER LILY                22
  THE RIVAL SINGERS                           23
  AFTER THE STORM                             26
  HEMLOCK RIVER                               28
  BROTHER BARTHOLOMEW                         33
  RESERVE                                     36
  LO AND LU                                   39
  HER VOICE                                   42
  AN EPITAPH                                  44
  THE FALCON AND THE LILY                     46
  BOSTON, FROM THE BRIDGE                     48
  THE RED AND YELLOW LEAF                     49
  “POETE MY MAISTER CHAUCER”                  51
  MOUNT AUBURN IN MAY                         52
  AMONG THE FLAGS                             53
  CHILD AND FLOWER                            54
  KNIGHT FALSTAFF                             56
  THE POET                                    57
  A CRIMINAL                                  59
  ORIENT-BORN                                 60
  CHARONDAS                                   62
  CRAZY MARGARET                              65
  TO THE WINDING CHARLES                      69
  MY NEIGHBOR                                 70
  THE SEA-GULL                                73
  LILY OF THE VALLEY                          74
  LOVER LOQUITUR                              76
  VITALITY                                    77
  TO THE RIVER                                78
  THE SECOND TIME THEY MET                    79
  BESSY IN THE STORM                          83
  AFTER A DUEL                                85
  INDIFFERENCE                                87
  THE PLEDGING                                88
  AT GETTYSBURG                               90
  EARLY DEATH                                 92
  MY SOPRANO                                  93
  THE CROSS ROADS                             94
  “HEART OF GOLD”                             98
  A JACOBITE REVIVAL                         100
  SPRING                                     104
  ADVENTURERS                                105
  L’ETIQUETTE                                107
  THE GRAVE AND THE ROSE                     110



  NORTH from the beautiful islands,
  North from the headlands and highlands,
          The long sea-wall,
  The white ships flee with the swallow;
  The day-beams follow and follow,
          Glitter and fall.

  The brown ruddy children that fear not,
  Lean over the quay, and they hear not
          Warnings of lips;
  For their hearts go a-sailing, a-sailing,
  Out from the wharves and the wailing
          After the ships.

  Nothing to them is the golden
  Curve of the sands, or the olden
          Haunt of the town;
  Little they reck of the peaceful
  Chiming of bells, or the easeful
          Sport on the down:

  The orchards no longer are cherished;
  The charm of the meadow has perished:
          Dearer, ay me!
  The solitude vast, unbefriended,
  The magical voice and the splendid
          Fierce will of the sea.

  Beyond them, by ridges and narrows
  The silver prows speed like the arrows
          Sudden and fair;
  Like the hoofs of Al Borak the wondrous,
  Lost in the blue and the thund’rous
          Depths of the air;

  On to the central Atlantic,
  Where passionate, hurrying, frantic
          Elements meet;
  To the play and the calm and commotion
  Of the treacherous, glorious ocean,
          Cruel and sweet.

  In the hearts of the children forever
  She fashions their growing endeavor,
          The pitiless sea;
  Their sires in her caverns she stayeth,
  The spirits that love her she slayeth,
          And laughs in her glee.

  Woe, woe, for the old fascination!
  The women make deep lamentation
          In starts and in slips;
  Here always is hope unavailing,
  Here always the dreamers are sailing
          After the ships!


  YOU scarce can mark her flying feet
    Or bear her eyelids’ flash a space;
  Her passing by is like the sweet
    Blown odor of some tropic place;
  She has a voice, a smile sincere,
  The blitheness of the nascent year,
    April’s growth and grace;
  All youth, all force, all fire and stress
  In her impassioned gentleness,
  Half exhortation, half caress.

  A thing of peace and of delight,—
    A fountain sparkling in the sun,
  Reflecting heavenly shapes by night,—
    Her moods thro’ ordered beauty run.
  Light be the storm that she must know,
  And branches greener after snow
    For hope to build upon;
  Late may the tear of memory start,
  And Love, who is her counterpart,
  Be tender with that lily-heart!


  LÉON went to the wars,
    True soul without a stain;
  First at the trumpet-call,
    Thy son, Lorraine!

  Never a mighty host
    Thrilled so with one desire;
  Never a past Crusade
    Lit nobler fire.

  And he, among the rest,
    Smote foemen in the van,—
  No braver blood than his
    Since time began.

  And mild and fond was he,
    And sensitive as a leaf;—
  Just Heaven! that he was this,
    Is half my grief!

  We followed where the last
    Detachment led away,
  At Metz, an evil-starred
    And bitter day.

  Some of us had been hurt
    In the first hot assault,
  Yet wills were slackened not,
    Nor feet at fault.

  We hurried on to the front;
    Our banners were soiled and rent;
  Grim riflemen, gallants all,
    Our captain sent.

  A Prussian lay by a tree
    Rigid as ice, and pale,
  And sheltered out of the reach
    Of battle-hail.

  His cheek was hollow and white,
    Parched was his purpled lip;
  Tho’ bullets had fastened on
    Their leaden grip,

  Tho’ ever he gasped and called,
    Called faintly from the rear,
  What of it? And all in scorn
    I closed mine ear.

  The very colors he wore,
    They burnt and bruised my sight;
  The greater his anguish, so
    Was my delight.

  We laughed a savage laugh,
    Who loved our land too well,
  Giving its enemies hate

  But Léon, kind heart, poor heart,
    Clutched me around the arm;
  “He faints for water!” he said,
    “It were no harm

  To soothe a wounded man
    Already on death’s rack.”
  He seized his brimming gourd,
    And hurried back.

  The foeman grasped it quick
    With wild eyes, ’neath whose lid
  A coiled and viper-like look
    Glittered and hid.

  He raised his shattered frame
    Up from the grassy ground,
  And drank with the loud, mad haste
    Of a thirsty hound.

  Léon knelt by his side,
    One hand beneath his head;
  Not kinder the water than
    The words he said.

  He rose and left him so,
    Stretched on the grassy plot,
  The viper-like flame in his eyes
    Alas! forgot.

  Léon with easy gait
    Strode on; he bared his hair,
  Swinging his army cap,
    Humming an air.

  Just as he neared the troops,
    Over there by the stream—
  Good God! a sudden snap
    And a lurid gleam.

  I wrenched my bandaged arm
    With the horror of the start:
  Léon was low at my feet,
    Shot thro’ the heart.

  Do you think an angel told
    Whose hands the deed had done?
  To the Prussian we dashed back,
    Mute, every one.

  Do you think we stopped to curse,
    Or wailing feebly, stood?
  Do you think we spared who shed
    A friend’s sweet blood?

  Ha! vengeance on the fiend:
    We smote him as if hired;
  I most of them, and more
    When they had tired.

  I saw the deep eye lose
    Its dastard, steely blue:
  I saw the trait’rous breast
    Pierced thro’ and thro’.

  His musket, smoking yet,
    Unhanded, lay beside;
  Three times three thousand deaths
    That Prussian died.

  And he, my brother, Léon,
    Lies, too, upon the plain:
  O teach no more Christ’s mercy,
    Thy sons, Lorraine!

  [This incident actually befell a private in a
  Massachusetts volunteer regiment, belonging to the Fifth
  Corps, at the battle of Malvern Hill.]


  YOU were a haughty beauty, Polly,
        (That was in the play,)
  I was the lover melancholy;
        (That was in the play.)
  And when your fan and you receded,
  And all my passion lay unheeded,
  If still with tenderer words I pleaded,
        That was in the play!

  I met my rival at the gateway,
        (That was in the play,)
  And so we fought a duel straightway;
        (That was in the play.)
  But when Jack hurt my arm unduly,
  And you rushed over, softened newly,
  And kissed me, Polly! truly, truly,
        Was that in the play?


  OUT of the Lenten gloom it springs,
      Out of the wintry land,
  White victor-flower with breath of myrrh,
  Joy’s oracle and harbinger;
      I take it in my hand,

  I fold it to my lips, and know
      That death is overpast,
  That blessèd is thy glad release,
  And thou with Christ art full of peace,
      Dear heart in Heaven! at last.


  TWO marvellous singers of old had the city of Florence,—
  She that is loadstar of pilgrims, Florence the beautiful,—
  Who sang but thro’ bitterest envy their exquisite music,
  Each for o’ercoming the other, as fierce as the seraphs
  At the dread battle pre-mundane, together down-wrestling.
  And once when the younger, surpassing the best at a festival,
  Thrilled the impetuous people, O singing so rarely!
  That up on their shoulders they raised him, and carried him straightway
  Over the threshold, ’mid ringing of belfries and shouting,
  Till into his pale cheek mounted a color like morning
  (For he was Saxon in blood) that made more resplendent
  The gold of his hair for an aureole round and above him,
  Seeing which, called his adorers aloud, thanking Heaven
  That sent down an angel to sing for them, taking their homage;—
  While this came to pass in the city, one marked it, and harbored
  A purpose which followed endlessly on, like his shadow.
  Therefore at night, as a vine that aye clambering stealthily
  Slips by the stones to an opening, came the assassin,
  And left the deep sleeper by moonlight, the Saxon hair dabbled
  With red, and the brave voice smitten to death in his bosom.
  Now this was the end of the hate and the striving and singing.
  But the Italian thro’ Florence, his city familiar,
  Fared happily ever, none knowing the crime and the passion,
  Winning honor and guerdon in peaceful and prosperous decades,
  Supreme over all, and rejoiced with the cheers and the clanging.
  _Carissima!_ what? and you wonder the world did not loathe him?
  Child, he lived long, and was lauded, and died very famous.



  NOW that the wind is tamed and broken,
    And day gleams over the lea,
  Row, row, for the one you love
    Was out on the raging sea:
            Row, row, row,
  Sturdy and brave o’er the treacherous wave,
    Hope like a beacon before,
            Row, sailor, row
  Out to the sea from the shore!


  O, the oar that was once so merry,
  O, but the mournful oar!
  Row, row; God steady your arm
  To the dark and desolate shore:
            Row, row, row,
  With your own love dead, and her wet gold head
    Laid there at last on your knee,
            Row, sailor, row,
  Back to the shore from the sea!


  ON that river, where their will is,
  Grow the tranquil-hearted lilies;
  In and out, with summer cadence,
  Brown o’erbrimming waters slide;

  Shade is there and mossy quiet,—
  O but go thou never nigh it!
  Ghosts of three unhappy maidens
  Float upon its bosom wide.


  A NAME all read and many rue
  Chanced on the idle talk of two;
  I saw the listener doubt and falter
  Till came the rash reproof anew.

  Then on his breath arose a sigh,
  And in the flashes of reply
  I saw the great indignant shower
  Surcharge the azure of his eye.

  Said he: “’Neath our accord intense
  At mutual shrines of soul and sense,
  Flows, like a subterraneous river,
  This last and only difference.

  “Behold, I am with anguish torn
   That you should name his name in scorn,
   And use it as an April flower
   Plucked from his grave and falsely worn:

  “Thrice better his renown were not!
   And he in silence lay forgot,
   Than to exhale a strife unending
   Should be his gentle memory’s lot.

  “How can you, freedom in your reach,
   Nurse your high thought on others’ speech,
   And follow after brawling critics
   Reiterating blame with each?

  “The world’s ill judgments roll and roll
   Nor touch that shy, evasive soul,
   Whose every tangled hour of living
   God draws to issues fair and whole.

  “It grieves me less that, purely good,
   His aims are darkly understood,
   Than that your spirit jars unkindly
   Against its golden brotherhood.

  “_Et tu, Brute!_ Where he hath flown
   On kindred wing you cross the zone,
   And yet for hate, thro’ lack of knowing,
   Austerely misconstrue your own.

  “No closer wave and wave at sea
   Than he and you for grace should be;
   I would endure the chains of bondage
   That you might share this truth with me!

  “A leaf’s light strength should break the wind,
   Ere my desire, your wilful mind;
   If I should waste my lips in pleading,
   Or drain my heart, you still were blind,

  “Still warring on the citadels
   Of Truth remotely, till her bells
   Rouse me, your friend, to old defiance,—
   Tho’ dear you be in all things else,—

  “And tho’ my hope the day-star is
   Of broadening eternities,
   Wherein, the shadows cleared forever,
   Your cordial hand shall rest in his.”


  BROTHER BARTHOLOMEW, working-time,
    Would fall into musing and drop his tools;
  Brother Bartholomew cared for rhyme
    More than for theses of the schools;
  And sighed, and took up his burden so,
  Vowed to the Muses, for weal or woe.

  At matins he sat, the book on his knees,
    But his thoughts were wandering far away;
  And chanted the evening litanies
    Watching the roseate skies grow gray,
  Watching the brightening starry host
  Flame like the tongues at Pentecost.

  “A foolish dreamer, and nothing more;
    The idlest fellow a cell could hold;”
  So murmured the worthy Isidor,
    Prior of ancient Nithiswold;
  Yet pitiful, with dispraise content,
  Signed never the culprit’s banishment.

  Meanwhile Bartholomew went his way
    And patiently wrote in his sunny cell;
  His pen fast travelled from day to day;
    His books were covered, the walls as well.
  “But O for the monk that I miss, instead
  Of this listless rhymer!” the Prior said.

  Bartholomew dying, as mortals must,
    Not unbelov’d of the cowlèd throng,
  Thereafter, they took from the dark and dust
    Of shelves and of corners, many a song
  That cried loud, loud to the farthest day,
  How a bard had arisen,—and passed away.

  Wonderful verses! fair and fine,
    Rich in the old Greek loveliness;
  The seer-like vision, half divine;
    Pathos and merriment in excess.
  And every perfect stanza told
  Of love and of labor manifold.

  The King came out and stood beside
    Bartholomew’s taper-lighted bier,
  And turning to his lords, he sighed:
    “How worn and wearied doth he appear,—
  Our noble poet,—now he is dead!”
  “O tireless worker!” the Prior said.


  YOU that are dear, O you above the rest!
  Forgive him his evasive moods and cold;
  The absence that belied him oft of old,
  The war upon sad speech, the desperate jest,
  And pity’s wildest gush but half-confessed,
  Forgive him! Let your gentle memories hold
  Some written word once tender and once bold,
  Or service done shamefacedly at best,
  Whereby to judge him. All his days he spent,
  Like one who with an angel wrestled well,
  O’ermastering Love with show of light disdain;
  And whatsoe’er your spirits underwent,
  He, wounded for you, worked no miracle
  To make his heart’s allegiance wholly plain.


  IN thy holy need, our country,
  Shatter other idols straightway;
  Quench our household fires before us,
  Reap the pomp of harvests low;
  Strike aside each glad ambition
  Born of youth and golden leisure,
  Leave us only to remember
  Faith we swore thee long ago!

  All the passionate sweep of heart-strings,
  Thirst and famine, din of battle,
  All the wild despair and sorrow
  That were ever or shall be,
  Are too little, are too worthless,
  Laid along thine upward pathway
  As with our souls’ strength we lay them,
  Stepping-stones, O Love! for thee.

  If we be thy burden-bearers,
  Let us ease thee of thy sorrow;
  If our hands be thine avengers,
  Life or death, they shall not fail;
  If thy heart be just and tender,
  Wrong us not with hesitation:
  Take us, trust us, lead us, love us,
  Till the eternal Truth prevail!


  WHEN we began this never-ended
        Kind companionship,
  Childish greetings lit the splendid
        Laughter at the lip;
  You were ten and I eleven;
        Henceforth, as we knew,
  Was all the mischief under heaven
        Set down to Lo and Lu.

  Long we fought and cooed together,
        Held an equal reign,
  Snowballs could we fire and gather,
        Twine a clover chain;
  Sing in G an A flat chorus
        ’Mid the tuneful crew,—
  No harmonious angels o’er us
        Taught us, Lo or Lu.

  Pleasant studious times have seen us
        Arm-in-arm of yore,
  Learnèd books, well-thumbed between us,
        Spread along the floor;
  Perched in pine-tops, sunk in barley,
        Rogues, where rogues were few,
  Right or wrong, in deed and parley,
        Comrades, Lo and Lu.

  Which could leap where banks were wider,
        Mock the cat-bird’s call?
  Which preside and pop the cider
        At a festival?
  Who became the finer Stoic
        Stabbing trouble thro’,
  Thrilled to hear of things heroic
        Oftener, Lo or Lu?

  Earliest, blithest! then and ever
        Mirror of my heart!
  Grow we old and wise and clever
        Now, so far apart;
  Still as tender as a mother’s
        Floats our prayer for two;
  Neither yet can spare the other’s
        “God bless—Lo and Lu!”


  A LARK from cloud to cloud along
  In wildest labyrinths of song,—
  So jubilant and proud and strong;

  A ray that climbs the garden wall
  And leaps the height at evenfall,—
  So clear, so faint, so mystical;

  A summer fragrance on the breeze,
  A shower upon the lilied leas,
  A sunburst over violet seas,

  A wand of light, a fairy spell
  Beyond a faltering lip to tell;
  Bright Music’s perfect miracle.

  Still live the gift outrunning praise,
  Inviolate from this earthly place
  And fitly pure for heavenly days,

  Sincerity its stay and guard,
  A glowing nature, happy-starred,
  Its dwelling now and afterward!

  Where’er that gentle heart shall be,
  Responsive to their source I see
  The fount and form of melody;

  And my foreshadowed spirit drawn
  Of hindrance free, and unforlorn,
  To list thro’ some ambrosial dawn,

  To follow with oblivious eyes
  The old delight, the fresh surprise,
  Adown the glades of Paradise!


  FUGITIVE to nobler air,
  Dead avow thee who shall dare?
  Freeborn spirit, eagle heart,
  Full of life thou wert and art!
  Tender was thy glance, and bland;
  Honor swayed thy giving hand;
  Sweet as fragrance on the sense
  Stole thy rich intelligence,
  And thy coming, like the spring,
  Moved the saddest lips to sing.

  Wealth above all argosies!
  Sunshine of our drooping eyes!
  Be to Heaven, for Heaven’s desert,
  Fair as unto us thou wert.
  Tho’ the groping breezes moan
  Here about thy burial-stone,
  Never sorrow’s lightest breath
  Links thy happy name with death,
  Lest therein our love should be,
  Thou that livest! false to thee.


  MY darling rides across the sand;
  The wind is warm, the wind is bland;
  It lifts the pony’s glossy mane,
  So light and proud she holds his rein.
  Not easier bears a leaf the dew
  Than she her scarf and kirtle blue,
  And on her wrist, in bells and jess,
  The falcon perched for idleness.
  That merry bird, O would I were!
  In joy with her, in joy with her.

  My darling comes not from her bower,
  The lowered pennon sweeps the tower;
  The larches droop their tassels low,
  And bells are marshalled to and fro.
  My heart, my heart, beholds her now,
  The pallid hands, the saintly brow,
  The lily with chill death oppressed
  Against the summer of her breast:
  That lily pale, O would I were!
  In peace with her, in peace with her.


  THIS night my heart’s world-roaming dreams are met,
  The while I gaze across the river-brim,
  Beyond the anchored ships with cordage dim,
  To the clear lights, that like a coronet
  On thee, my noble city, nobly set,
  Along thy summits trail their golden rim.
  Peril forsake thee! so shall peal my hymn;
  Glory betide thee! Nor may men forget,
  Shelter of scholars, poets, artisans!
  The sap that filled the perfect vein of Greece,
  And hung with bloom her fair, illustrious tree,
  Unheeded, thro’ dull eras made advance,
  Unfruitful, stole to topmost boughs in peace
  Twice centuries twelve; and flowered again in thee.


   THE red and yellow leaf
   Came down upon the wind,
   Across the ripened grain;
   The red and yellow leaf,
   Before me and behind,
   Sang shrilly in my brain:

  “Pride and growth of spring,
   Ease, and olden cheer,
   Shall no longer be:
   What benighted thing,
   Dreamer, dost thou here?
   Follow, follow me!

  “Youth is done, and skill;
   What is any trust
   Any more to thee?
   Pale thou art and chill;
   All of love is dust:
   Follow, follow me!”

  “Thou red and yellow leaf,
   O whither?” from my staff
   I called adown the wind;
   The red and yellow leaf,
   I heard its mocking laugh
   Before me and behind!


  SOMEWHERE, sometime, I walked a field wherein
  The daisies held high festival in white,
  Thinking: Alas! he with a young delight
  Among them once his golden web did spin;
  He who made half-divine an olden inn,
  The Tabard; sung of Ariadne bright,
  And penned of Sarra’s king at fall of night,
  “Where now I leave, there will I fresh begin.”
  Then straightway heard I merry laughter rise
  From one that wrote, thrown on a daisy-bed,
  Who, seeing the two-fold wonder in mine eyes,
  Spake, lifting up his fair and reverend head:
  “Child! this is the earth-completing Paradise,
  And thou, that strayest here, art centuries dead.”


[A] Lydgate so calls him,

        . . . . “of righte and equitie,
  Since he in Englishe in rhyming was the beste.”


  THIS is earth’s liberty-day:
  Yonder the linden-trees sway
    To music of winds from the west,
  And I hear the old merry refrain,
  Of the stream that has broken its chain
    By the gates of the City of Rest,

  The City whose exquisite towers
  I see thro’ the sunny long hours
    If but from my window I lean;
  Yea, dearest! thy threshold of stone,
  Thine ivy-grown door and my own
    Have naught save the river between.

  Thine on that heavenly height
  Are beauty, and warmth, and delight;
    And long as our parting shall be,
  Live there in thy summer! nor know
  How near lie the frost and the snow
    On hearts that are breaking for thee.



  DEAR witnesses, all luminous, eloquent,
  Stacked thickly on the tesselated floor!
  The soldier-blood stirs in me, as of yore
  In sire and grandsire who to battle went:
  I seem to know the shaded valley tent,
  The armed and bearded men, the thrill of war,
  Horses that prance to hear the cannon roar,
  Shrill bugle-calls, and camp-fire merriment.
  And as fair symbols of heroic things,
  Not void of tears mine eyes must e’en behold
  These banners lovelier as the deeper marred:
  A panegyric never writ for kings
  On every tarnished staff and tattered fold;
  And by them, tranquil spirits standing guard.


[_From the French of Chateaubriand._][B]

  ALONG her coffin-lid the spotless roses rest
    A father’s sad, sad hand culled from a happy bower;
  Earth, they were born of thee: take back upon thy breast
          Young child and tender flower.

  To this unhallowed world, ah! let them not return,
    To this dark world where grief and sin and anguish lower;
  The winds might wound and break, the sun might parch and burn
          Young child and tender flower.

  Thou sleepest, O Elise! thy years were brief and bright;
    The burden and the heat are spared thy noonday hour;
  For dewy morn has flown, and on its pinions light,
          Young child and tender flower.


[B] The author’s title runs: “Sur la Fille de mon Ami, enterrée devant
moi hier au Cimetière de Passy: 16 Juin, 1832.”


  I SAW the dusty curtain, ages old,
  Its purple tatters twitched aside, and lo!
  The fourth King Harry’s reign in lusty show
  Behind, its deeds in living file outrolled
  Of peace and war; some sage, some mad, and bold:
  Last, near a tree, a bridled neighing row
  With latest spoils encumbered, saints do know,
  By Hal and Hal’s boon cronies; on the wold
  Laughter of prince and commons; there and here
  Travellers fleeing; drunken thieves that sang;
  Wild bells; a tavern’s echoing jolly shout;
  Signals along the highway, full of cheer;
  A gate that closed with not incautious clang,
  When that sweet rogue, bad Jack! came lumbering out.


  LISTEN! the mother
  Croons o’er her darling;
  Birds to the summer
  Call from the trees;
  Sailors in chorus
  Chant of the ocean:
  The poet’s heart singeth
  Songs sweeter than these.

  Thy lute, gentle lover,
  To her thou adorest;
  Ye troubadours! pæans
  For princes of Guelph:
  But Heaven’s own harpers
  Breathe not in their music
  The song that his happy heart
    Sings to itself;
  The changeless, soft song that it
    Sings to itself!


[C] For this trifle, obligations are due to Maestro Mozart. A sunny
little opening Andante of his, from the Second Sonata in A major,
suggested immediately and quite irresistibly the words here appended,
which follow its rhythm throughout.


  “CLOSE as a mask he wore this fiery sin
  Of hate; and daring peril foremost, died
  Ere yet the wrath of law was justified,
  Hopeless, with memory such as miscreants win.
  One sacred head he smote, encircled in
  A people’s arms; and shook, with storms allied,
  The pillars of the world from side to side.”...
  E’en so the Angel’s record must begin.
  Show me not anguish since that traitor-stroke
  Rang o’er the brunt of war; yet child, O child!
  When later days bring bitter thoughts, recall,
  No maledictions on his name I spoke,
  Catching lost cues; but asked, well-reconciled,
  God, our Interpreter, to right us all.


  BEAUTIFUL olive-brown brows, chin where the fairy-print lies;
  Vagrant dark tresses above splendid mysterious eyes;

  Mellowest fires that glow under the calm of her face,
  Girl of all girls in the world for mould and for color and grace.

  Such are the opal-like maids that flash in the groves to and fro,
  Dancers Arabian; such, languorous ages ago,

  Ptolemy’s daughter; and so, breathing faint cassia and musk,
  Veilèd young Moors on divans, singing and sighing at dusk.

  Never in opiate dreams have I o’ertaken you, sweet;
  Never with henna-tipped hands; never with silken-shod feet;

  Still the love-charm of the East must over and over be told:
  By-and-by havoc with hearts!... Ah, slowly, my seven-year-old!


  HE lifted his forehead, and stood at his height,
    And gathered the cloak round his noble age,
  This man, the law-giver, Charondas the Greek;
  And loud the Eubœans called to him: “Speak,
    We listen and learn, O sage!”

  “In peace shall ye come where the people be,”
    Spake the lofty figure with flashing eyes:
  “But whoso comes armed to the public hall
  Shall suffer his death before us all.”
    And the hearers believed him wise.

  The years sped quick and the years dragged slow;
    In council oft was the throng arrayed,
  But never the statued chamber saw
  The gleam of a weapon; for loving the law,
    The Greeks from their hearts obeyed.

  War’s challenge knocked at the city gates;
    Students flocked to the front, grown bold;
  The strong men, girded, faced up to the north;
  The women wept to the gods; and forth
    Went the brave of the days of old.

  Peace winged her flight to the city gates;
    Young men and strong, they followed fast
  Back to the breast of their fair, free land:
  Charondas, afar on the foreign strand,
    Remained at his post the last.

  Their leader he, in war as in word,
    The fire of youth for his life-long lease,
  The strength of Mars in the arm that stood
  Seven hot decades upheld for good
    In the turbulent courts of Greece.

  The fight is finished, the council meets.
    Who is the tardy comer without
  In cuirass and shield, and with clanking sword,
  Who strides up the aisles without a word,
    Rousing that awe-struck shout?

  The tardy comer home from the field—
    Great gods! the first to forget and belie
  The law he honored, the law he formed:
  “Charondas—stand! you enter armed,”
    With a shudder the hundreds cry.

  The men who loved him on every side,
    The men he led to the victor’s gain,
  He paused a moment, the fearless Greek;
  A sudden glow on his ashen cheek,
    A sudden thought in his brain.

  “I seal the law with my soul and might:
    I do not break it,” Charondas said.
  He raised his blade, and plunged to the hilt.
  Ah! vain their rush, for in glory and guilt,
    He lay on the marble, dead.


  THAT is she across the way,
  Dressed as for a holiday,
  Wandering aimlessly along
  In oblivion of the throng,
  With her lay of old regret;
  That is crazy Margaret.

  And her tale floats up and down
  This enchanted Norman town,
  Told among the wharves and ships,
  On the children’s babbling lips,
  Over gossips’ window-sills,
  In the rectory, thro’ the mills.

  Very sad and very brief,
  Graven on a cypress leaf,
  Is the record of her days.
  When the aloes were ablaze
  Long ago, in summertide,
  He maid Margaret cherished, died.

  Hush! there is the holier part:
  He knew nothing of her heart.
  Tears thrilled in her lustrous eye
  But to see him passing by,
  And she turned from many a claim
  Dreaming on that dearest name.

  Solely on his thoughts intent
  The rapt student came and went,
  All the gladness in his looks
  Sprung from visions and from books,
  Grave with all, and kind to her,
  His meek peasant worshipper.

  So she loved him to the last,
  Keeping her soul’s secret fast,
  Suffering much and speaking naught
  Of the woe her loving wrought;
  Till the second summertide,
  The young stranger drooped and died.

  At the grave, before them all,
  In the market, in the hall,
  Down the forest-paths alone,
  Ever since, in undertone
  She goes singing soft and slow:
  “When I meet him, he shall know.”

  Therefore is she eager yet,
  Poor, unhappy Margaret,
  Holding still, in faith and truth,
  The lost idyl of her youth,
  Seeking fondly and thro’ tears,
  One who sleeps these forty years.

  Should he haunt our Norman coast,
  Should he come, the gentle ghost;
  Should she tell him of her pain,
  Of her passion hushed and vain,—
  Would he grieve? or would he care?
  What a tragic chance is there!


  THOU wanderer, what longing hath
    Thee peace on earth denied,
  Ah, tell me: constant in no path,
    Thy pensive currents glide.

  From dim pursuit and mocking zest,
    Would I could set thee free!
  My soul hath its divine unrest,
    Dear river, like to thee.


  WHO art thou that nigh to me
  Alone dost dwell, perpetually?
  The latch against thy door is mute,
  I have not heard thy kind salute,
  And though I live here at the gate,
  Have never known thy birth or state,
  Nor seen thy wide colonial lands
  With slaves obeying all commands,
  Or children playing at thy knee;
  Ah, neighbor mine, unneighborly!

  The sun beats hard upon thy roof,
  The tree’s cool shadow waves aloof;
  Thou dost not heed, nor speak in ire,
  Nor wound thy calm with vain desire.
  The cones that patter as they fall,
  The drifts that build thine outer wall,
  The rains that glisten in the trace
  Of thine inscription, dimmed apace,
  The winds that blow, the birds that sing,—
  Thou carest not for any thing!

  Two centuries and more art thou
  In solitude abiding; now
  This town is other than thy town;
  Its lanes are highways broad and brown;
  The oaken houses of thy day,
  And inns, and booths, are swept away.
  Strange spires would meet thine eager eye,
  New ships sail in, new banners fly;
  And names are kept of them that fell
  In wars to thee incredible.

  How beautiful thine endless rest!
  The quiet conscience in thy breast,
  Thy hidden place of peace, where pass
  The ghost-like stirrings of the grass;
  The long immunity from strife,
  The tumult, love; the trouble, life;
  The blossom at thy feet, to be
  A thousand summers, dust like thee;
  The winding-sheet, that white as worth,
  Shuts all thy failings in the earth.

  My silent neighbor! thou and I
  Keep unobtrusive company.
  For us each wild October weaves
  The glistening clouds, the glowing leaves,
  And March by March the robin sings,
  Against the solemn porch of King’s,
  His sweet good-morrow to us both.
  O be not harsh with me, nor wroth,
  That I, apart from all the throng,
  Break, too, thy silence with a song!


[D] Jacob Sheafe, an old Boston worthy, laid away in 1658, in a quiet
northerly corner of King’s Chapel Burying-Ground.


  OVER the ships that are anchored,
    Over the fleets that part,
  Over the cities dark by the shore,
    High as a dream thou art!

  Beautiful is thy coming,
    Light is thy wing as it goes;
  And O but to leap and follow this hour
    Thy perfect flight to the close,

  O but to leap and follow
    Where freedom and rest may be;
  Where the soul that I loved in surpassing love
    Hath vanished away, with thee!


  DARLING of the cloistered flowers,
  Rising meekly after showers,
    Every cup a waving censer,—
  Winds are softer at thy coming;
  By thee goes the wild bee, humming
    Music richer and intenser.

  Indian balsam is thy breathing,
  Sabbath stillness thy enwreathing;
    Peace and thee no thought can sever.
  In thy plaintive looks and tender,
  Things of long-forgotten splendor
    Thrill my inmost spirit ever.

  And I love thee in such fashion,
  With so much of truth and passion,
    In this sad wish to enshrine thee:
  Only pure hearts be thy wearers,
  Only gentlest hands thy bearers,
    Even if therefore mine resign thee;

  Even if now I yield thee wholly
  To the pure and gentle solely,
    On whose breast thy cheek is lying!
  Droop and glisten where she laid thee,
  And remember me that made thee,
    Dear, so happy in thy dying.


  LIEGE lady! believe me,
    All night, from my pillow
  I heard, but to grieve me,
    The plash of the willow;
  The rain on the towers,
    The winds without number,
  In the gloom of the hours,
    And denial of slumber:

  And nigh to the dawning,—
    My heart aching blindly,
  Unresting and mourning
    That you were unkindly—
  What did I ostensibly,
    Ah, what under heaven,
  Liege lady! but sensibly
    Doze till eleven?


  WHEN I was born and wheeled upon my way,
  As fire in stars my ready life did glow,
  And thrill me thro’, and mount to lips and lids:
  I was as dead when I died yesterday
  As those mild shapes Egyptian, that we know
  Since Memnon sang, are housed in pyramids.


  FRIEND CHARLES! ’tis long since even for a space
  We stood in cordial parley: you and I,
  (Albeit about the selfsame city lie
  The daily orbits we in silence pace),
  Seldom, how seldom, see each other’s face!
  Always had you a mill to turn near by,
  A race to aid; and I, with scarce a sigh,
  Passed, on like duties bound with heavy grace.
  But now good Leisure puts all things in tune,
  Now o’er their brimming bowls in odorous whiff
  The gods send up the clouds above us curled,
  Let us go forth, my Charles! thro’ fields of June
  Together, gladly, lovingly, as if
  We could not have enough of this sweet world.


  “OH, would I might see my love,” sang he,
    As he dreamed in his true heart of her,
  As he rode that day up the highway wide,
  With his feathers gay, and the lute at his side;
  “Oh, would I might see my love,” sang he,
    “My love that knows not I love her.”

  “Oh, would I might see my love,” sang she,
    As she sat in the porch above him,
  With the web half-spun in her fingers fair,
  And a ray of the sun in her brown, brown hair;
  “Oh, would I might see my love,” sang she,
    “My love that knows not I love him.”

  Then as their eyes met, with a start I forget
    Whether shame, or delight, or sorrow,
  The sky in its glow seemed to interest her,
  And he bent very low to fasten his spur;
  But “Oh, would I might see my love,”—dear me!
    They sang it no more till the morrow.


  THEY stirred the carven agate door
  Back from the cloisters, where of yore
  One toiled by night, and toiling, kept
    The starlight on his bended head:
  “O enter with us, straight and free,
  The master’s place of mystery;
  Had he not gone beyond the sea,
    He would have bid us come,” they said.

  But from the threshold hushed and gray
  The loiterer turned, and made his way
  From arch to arch, and answered low,
    Pale with some ever-deepening dread:
  “What he once promised to unfold,
  Without him, how shall I behold?
  O enter you whose hearts are bold;
    My heart hath failed me here,” he said.

  Thou dead magician, be it so!
  I close thy pages, and forego
  The beauty other men may scan
    With much of awe and tenderness;
  And if this blessing half-divine,
  With gracious sorrow I resign
  To faith that firmer is than mine,
    Thou knowest if I love thee less!


[E] Hawthorne’s “Doctor Grimshawe.”


  “WHY come ye in with tresses wild,
    With baffling winds aweary,
  All damp and cold, my bonny girl,
      My deary?

  “The sun not yet has oped his lids,
    The clouds hold fast together;
  Why stirred ye out this angry morn,
      And whither?”

  “O mother mine! mayhap I rose
    To fetch the gillyflower,
  Or soothe my sister’s little son
      An hour;

  “Or else I led a bleating lamb,
    Strayed off from any other,
  Or went to pray at break of day,
      Sweet mother!”

  “My Bess, my lass, deceive me not;
    So long it had not taken.”
  “O no; O no! I did for grief

  “My true love never you have seen,
    Down by the ships I found him;
  In all the gale, I held mine arms
      Around him.

  “He spake to me, he kissed me thrice,
    And sailed the seas a-mourning;
  And then my tears rained with the rain


  “In fair and discreet manhood; that is, civilly, by the
  sword.”—_Ben Jonson._

  BY laurels upon your brow
    New-placed, our worth is reckoned:
  You are a hero now,
    And I,—a dead man’s second.

  Your prowess was most fair,
    And fairer yet I own it;
  A majesty lies there,
    And you have overthrown it.

  To dexterous hands was given
    Your weapon giant-hewing;
  The lightning out from heaven
    Had scarcely dared its doing!

  For balm on wounds aghast
    Supreme in you my trust is;
  Solicitous to the last,
    Your pity tempered justice.

  Thanks, to my final breath,
    For challenge, thrust, and parry.
  With this pale weight of death
    Your living praise I carry.

  I see no hate abhorr’d,
    But courtesy acting thro’ you:
  The Devil, sweet my lord,
    Be thus considerate to you!

  In honor, after a lapse,
    Dare you to combat sprightly,
  Thenceforth you chance mishaps
    To superintend,—politely.


  AS once in a town thro’ the twilight pleasant
    A belfry chorus majestic rose,
  While our talk ran on, and the good lamp glistened,
  And nothing you recked, rapt soul! but listened,
    And followed on truant wing incessant
      After the chime to its silvern close;

  So later, when over your gentle pages,
    The harsh world wronged you with scorn and sting,
  By the far-away joy in your blue eye growing,
  I knew that beyond these ill winds blowing,
    You heard, my Poet! the praise of the ages;
      Only and ever you heard them sing.


  “WE buried a loving heart to-day;
  We miss his coming over the way,
    The toss of his hair, his laughter’s ring;

  “The radiant presence gone from earth;
  The serious eyes that could shine with mirth,
    The luminous brain, the hand of a king;

  “So, losing him as we did, I say
  Fill up the goblets, and glad and gay
    On his lonely road we will drink him cheer:

  “Health to the fine old friend we knew!
  Peace to his slumbers under the dew!
    Hail to his memory kind and dear!

  “And for second pledge, fill up to the brim;
  (Laugh lightly, what if our eyes be dim!)
    Here’s to the first that shall follow him.”

  The sun ran riot across the floor;
  Pomegranate-blossoms swung by the door;
    Blithe robins lit on the ivied sill:

  The voice in the gurgle of wine was lost;
  Up from the board were the beakers tossed;
    Loud clashed their rims with a royal will.

  And he, the youngest, that swayed them erst,
  Poured yet again, like a man athirst:
    “To the first who follows we drink, we three!”

  Sudden beside him Another stood,
  So sudden, he fell as the sandal-wood
    Sinks when the axe is laid to the tree:

  But the Shadow lifted his cup instead
  With the old quick smile, and the toss of the head:
    “Franz! thou art the first to follow!” he said.


  BELLS of victory are dumb;
  Trailing sword and muffled drum
    On we come,

  Downcast eyes and broken tread,
  Weary arms, and burdenèd
    With our dead.

  Lives were proffered: reck not his;
  For dear Freedom’s ransom is

  Proud our love is, nor at last
  With a sorrow that is past

  O’er the very clay we bring,
  Meet it is that we should sing

  He was foremost, he was leal;
  Let his gallant breast reveal
    Honor’s seal.

  Him we yield the Roman crown,
  Woven bays; in his renown
    Lay him down.

  Earth will softest pillow make,
  So that never heart shall ache
    For his sake;

  Spring will pass here many a day,
  Sighing, one with thoughts that pray
    Far away,

  “When the trumpets shake the sod,
  Raise Thy Knight from this dull clod,
    Lord our God!”


  A YOUNG bird fell last night across the dark
  And was not. In the willow hung its nest;
  But yesterday, with proud and beating breast,
  From bough to bough it crossed a fairy arc;
  Among its kindred barely did we hark
  Its first delightful carol, or note the crest
  Grow into golden-violet loveliest;
  There was no dial in our thought to mark
  The sealèd possibilities of days,
  The unwrought miracle of happy singing:
  And now, tho’ newly fail our earthly sense,
  Elsewhere that delicate intelligence
  Bursts into blossom of harmonious lays,
  All summer on a comely tree-top swinging.


(H. L.)

  LOVING her, what should I fail to do for her?—
  Keep season on season sunny and blue for her,
  Lengthen her days like a happy tale,
  With thoughts all tender and hearts all true for her,

  Ward her from trouble, good tidings bring to her;
  Fight for her, laugh with her, comfort her, cling to her,
  But if I were even a nightingale,
  I wonder—if I should dare to sing to her!


    OUT from the prison at twilight,
    With stealthy, terrible swiftness,
  Darted one of the branded, life beating in every vein;
    Freedom stirring his pulses,
    Gladness and fear and longing
  Surging thro’ brain and body with precious unwonted pain.

    Out from the damp, dark cell,
    The shackles, the sorrowful silence,
  Out from the ring of faces and the jarring of stern commands,
    Forth to the scent of the meadows,
    The glisten of garrulous brooklets,
  And the dim, kindly evening he blessed with his weary hands.

    On, like the sweep of a scimitar
    Dashed he, cutting the darkness,
  Or as the storm blows on, none knowing its way or its will;
    Cumbered with horrible fears,
    Leaped he the perilous ledges
  Reaching the village that lay in the valley, untroubled and still.

    Midway of his sickening haste,
    Sudden he faltered and moaned,
  Seeing three stand by a window, as the breeze loitering blew;
    A woman sad-featured and patient,
    Two golden heads at her shoulder,
  Dear eyes he made shine once—dear childish hair that he knew!

    Not yet, for surely the bloodhounds
    Would track him thither to-morrow;
  Not yet! tho’ soon that door should open, as long ago:
    Dashing the tear from his cheeks,
    The bronze, rough cheeks that it hallowed,
  He rushed on. Had they seen it, the poor, wan face? Did they know?

    Here meet the roads: see, eastways,
    The long, clear track to the forest,
  There, with chestnuts shaded, the path to the inland town:
    Behind, a glimpse of the village,
    Front—four sharp cliffs to the ocean;
  Quickly, which shall he choose? Hark! the captors are hunting him

    Shuffle of hurrying feet,
    Breathings nearer and nearer.
  No choice for a man that is doomed, unless straight to the merciful
    Up to the toilsome cliffs!
    Better death than new anguish!
  A cry, a plunge . . . shine, stars, on the ripples that ring that sea.

  Soft in the ominous shadow the branches stir by the meadow,
  Fair in the lonely distance the dying household glow;
    Deep in the dust of the street,
    Just where the four roads meet,
  Two trembling forms where he stood a moment so;
    And a wistful child’s voice said,
    Touched with great trouble and dread:
  “O little sister! which way did father go?”


  LADY serene, benign,
  This dainty name of mine,
  Pride in my bashful eyes
    Bending to see,
  With your look eloquent,
  Oft for glad service lent,
  Laughingly, lovingly,
    Gave you to me.

  Generous gift bestowed!
  Lofty desert avowed!
  Queen and true Knight indeed
    Played we those days;
  All of my faith unspent,
  Full of my child’s content,
  Shyly, yet haughtily,
    Wore I your praise.

  O for that happy sport
  Once in your mimic court!
  O for your voice again,
    Lips silencèd!
  O for the olden name
  Ere disillusion came;
  O for “the golden heart,”
    Too, that is dead!


  ONE voice I heard of a ghostly horde,
  About a visionary board,
    That said,
  While goblets filled with ruby-red:
  “Can you remember, good my lord,

  “Among the newer creeds and laws,
  The unrevived, pathetic cause
    Of kings?
  Can you remember all such things?
  How long, how long ago it was!

  “What is the story? Rivets loose,
  Superb contrivance; fainter use;
    For years,
  Allegiance, consecrate with tears,
  Sad loyalty, its own excuse;

  “A morning faith magnificent;
  Defiance breaking; ardor spent
    And pains
  For royal blood thro’ dwindled veins,
  Half-clogged with dust of dull content,

  “But weak not wholly; for there burst
  In the last scion, battle-nursed,
    Such scope
  Of rich emprise, that our rash hope
  Wrote him not last, indeed, but first.

  “For our true liege folk mocked at ease,
  And chartered foes, and crossed the seas:
  Where are they now, the gaps, the old
  Delicious taunts and enmities?

  “Then, troops of gallant gentlemen
  That passed by night o’er field and fen,
    Did shout
  Townward, lusty and loud throughout:
  ‘When the King comes back to his own again.’

  “Then rose a prayer, heart-tremulous,
  Near many an heir, in many a house,
  ‘O kindly Heaven! do thou but keep
  Our children rebels after us!’

  “Then sailors landing from the fleet,
  Idling wits in a sunny street,
    And sirs
  With trim-clipp’d beards and rattling spurs
  Met, swearing fealty: so we meet.

  “And since the stars, and you, and I
  Have seen the cycle rolling by,
    And know
  That right is right, thro’ flower and snow,
  Why then, give still the wonted cry:—

  “Here’s to the proud, forgotten names,
  Here’s to the Stuart, Charles and James!
    Ah me!
  Full few that live so long as we
  Fan older love to steadier flames.

  “Here’s to our fathers, Cavaliers;
  Their noble toil, their patient years
    That bore
  A burden precious now no more:
  So may they rest in happier spheres.

  “And here’s our benison for her
  Who doth the forfeit sceptre stir;
    A toast
  Late in the day, and welcome most:
  Death and doom to Hanover!”

  .    .    .    .

  Now this I heard from comrades dead,
  And vowed Amen to all they said,
    And rose
  With fair intent to draw more close;
  But like the forest deer they fled.


“With a difference.”—HAMLET.

  AGAIN the bloom, the northward flight,
  The fount freed at its silver height,
  And down the deep woods to the lowest,
  The fragrant shadows scarred with light.

  O inescapeable joy of spring!
  For thee the world shall leap and sing;
  But by her darkened door thou goest
  Forever as a spectral thing.


  WHEN we were children, at our will,
    That vanished summer blithe and free,
  Dear shipmate! how we loved to float
  Thro’ wind and calm, in a little boat,
    All alone on the sparkling sea!

  One morn, defying storms we sailed
    And sang our Credo, you and I—
  “Beyond the foam, the surge, the mist,
  The sea-fog’s moving amethyst,
    The peaceful fairy islands lie.”

  And far we urged the forward prow,
    Half-mad with longing as we hied;
  Yet at the sunset’s dying glow
  Faint-hearted, ceased, and homewards so
    Came meekly with the evening tide.

  Surely, the Isles of Rest were near!
    Why did our childish ardor tire?
  Now more, oh, more the thousandth time!
  We thirst for that celestial clime,
    We hunger with that old desire.

  Some day, when we shall sail again,
    The home-lights late indeed may burn;
  Let signals flutter on the shore,
  Let tides creep up to the open door,
    But with no tide shall we return.


  NEVER one in your kingdom, my queen,
  Who stands in your presence serene,
  Would take the first step less or more,
  Or pose otherwise on the floor,
  Or bend a whit deeper the knee,
  Or speak but as low as can be,
  And then at your royal command;
  And never a lord in the land
  Would stir the fine blade in its sheath,
  Or a marchioness rustle her wreath,
  Or a page grow too lean or too stout
  For fear of an exile, no doubt.
  And yet I remember the first
  Thro’ order and system to burst,
  Old freedom of ways to reclaim,
  Was that blithe little fellow who came
  To the arras majestic one day,
  In his lace and his velvet array,
  And rioted gallantly round,
  And talked of his horse and his hound,
  And gave milord’s buckler a clang
  And leaped o’er the marbles, and sang,
  And laughed in barbarian glee,
  Disturbing your stately levee;—
  Till the horrified ladies came down
  And bore him away, at your frown.

  That was a twelvemonth ago.
  You sit there as placid as snow:
  In ease and politeness and state,
  The court holds its doings of late,
  With nothing to vex with a qualm
  That formal, respectable calm.
  Patrician reproofs are forgot,
  Since further ill-doers are not.
  Liege lady! say, what would you give
  Henceforward as long as you live,
  For the roguish soft clutch at your hair,
  The capers and curvets in air,
  The laughter’s wild musical flow,
  That you frowned at a twelvemonth ago?


[_Translated from Victor Hugo._]

  WHISPERS the grave to the rose:
  “With the dew that the dawn bestows,
  What dost thou, love’s darling blossom?”
  And the rose to the grave soft saith:
  “And thou, dread abyss of death,
  With them in thine awful bosom?”
  But answers: “Mystical tomb,
  From the dew I exhale in the gloom
  Mine odor of amber and spices.”
  Then the grave: “Ah, querulous flower!
  Even so from each heart in my power
  An angel to Heaven arises.”

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