Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Amen, mine England ! 't is a courteous claim :
But ask a little room too-for thy shame!

a

Because it was not well, it was not well,
Nor tuneful with thy lofty-chanted part
Among the Oceanides,—that heart
To bind and bare and vex with vulture fell.
I would, my noble England, men might seek
All crimson stains upon thy breast-not cheek!

I would that hostile fleets had scarred Torbay,
Instead of the lone ship which waited moored
Until thy princely purpose was assured,
Then left a shadow, not to pass away-
Not for to-night's moon, nor to-morrow's sun :
Green watching hills, ye witnessed what was done!

But since it was done,-in sepulchral dust
We fain would pay back something of our debt
To France, if not to honour, and forget
How through much fear we falsified the trust
Of a fallen foe and exile. We return
Orestes to Electra-in his urn.

A little urn-a little dust inside,
Which once outbalanced the large earth, albeit
To-day a four-years child might carry it
Sleek-browed and smiling, “Let the burden 'bide !"
Orestes to Electra !-O fair town
Of Paris, how the wild tears will run down

And run back in the chariot-marks of time,
When all the people shall come forth to meet
The passive victor, death-still in the street
He rode through 'mid the shouting and bell-chime
And martial music, under eagles which
Dyed their rapacious beaks at Austerlitz !

Napoleon ! he hath come again, borne home
Upon the popular ebbing heart,-a sea
Which gathers its own wrecks perpetually,
Majestically moaning. Give him room !
Room for the dead in Paris ! welcome solemn
And grave-deep, 'neath the cannon-moulded column !

There, weapon spent and warrior spent may rest
From roar of fields,-provided Jupiter
Dare trust Saturnus to lie down so near
His bolts !-and this he may : for, dispossessed
Of any godship lies the godlike arm-
The goat, Jove sucked, as likely to do harm.

And yet

Napoleon !-the recovered name
Shakes the old casements of the world ; and we
Look out upon the passing pageantry,
Attesting that the Dead makes good his claim
To a French grave,-another kingdom won,
The last, of few spans—by Napoleon.

Blood fell like dew beneath his sunrise-sooth !
But glittered dew-like in the covenanted
Meridian light. He was a despot-granted !
But the avtos of his autocratic mouth
Said yea i' the people's French; he magnified
The image of the freedom he denied :

And if they asked for rights, he made reply
“Ye have my glory!”—and so, drawing round them
His ample purple, glorified and bound them
In an embrace that seemed identity.
He ruled them like a tyrant-true ! but none
Were ruled like slaves : each felt Napoleon.

I do not praise this man: the man was flawed
For Adam-much more, Christ ! his knee unbent,

a

His hand unclean, his aspiration pent
Within a sword-sweep-pshaw !--but since he had
The genius to be loved, why let him have
The justice to be honoured in his grave.

I think this nation's tears thus poured together,
Better than shouts. I think this funeral
Grander than crownings, though a Pope bless all.
I think this grave stronger than thrones. But whether
The crowned Napoleon or the buried clay
Be worthier, I discern not: angels may.

A RHAPSODY OF LIFE'S PROGRESS.

We are born into life—it is sweet, it is strange.
We lie still on the knee of a mild Mystery

Which smiles with a change !
But we doubt not of changes, we know not of spaces,
The heavens seem as near as our own mother's face is,
And we think we could touch all the stars that we see ;
And the milk of our mother is white on our mouth ;
And, with small childish hands, we are turning around
The apple of Life which another has found ;
It is warm with our touch, not with sun of the south,
And we count, as we turn it, the red side for four.

O Life, O Beyond,
Thou art sweet, thou art strange evermore!

Then all things look strange in the pure golden æther ; We walk through the gardens with hands linked together,

And the lilies look large as the trees ; And, as loud as the birds, sing the bloom-loving bees, And the birds sing like angels, so mystical-fine,

And the cedars are brushing the archangels' feet,
And time is eternity, love is divine,

And the world is complete.
Now, God bless the child,--father, mother, respond !

O Life, O Beyond,
Thou art strange, thou art sweet!

Then we leap on the earth with the armour of youth,

And the earth rings again ;
And we breathe out,“ O beauty !” we cry out,“O truth !”
And the bloom of our lips drops with wine,
And our blood runs amazed 'neath the calm hyaline :
The earth cleaves to the foot, the sun burns to the

brain,
What is this exultation ? and what this despair ? -
The strong pleasure is smiting the nerves into pain,
And we drop from the Fair as we climb to the Fair,

And we lie in a trance at its feet;
And the breath of an angel cold-piercing the air

Breathes fresh on our faces in swoon,
And we think him so near he is this side the sun,
And we wake to a whisper self-murmured and fond,

O Life, O Beyond,
Thou art strange, thou art sweet !

And the winds and the waters in pastoral measures
Go winding around us, with roll upon roll,
Till the soul lies within in a circle of pleasures

Which hideth the soul :
And we run with the stag, and we leap with the horse,
And we swim with the fish through the broad water-

course, And we strike with the falcon, and hunt with the hound,

the joy which is in us flies out by a wound. And we shout so aloud, “We exult, we rejoice," That we lose the low moan of our brothers around ;

[ocr errors]

And we shout so adeep down creation's profound,

We are deaf to God's voice.
And we bind the rose-garland on forehead and ears,

Yet we are not ashamed,
And the dew of the roses that runneth unblamed

Down our cheeks, is not taken for tears.
Help us, God ! trust us, man, love us, woman! “I hold
Thy small head in my hands-with its grapelets of gold
Growing bright through my fingers,-like altar for oath,
’Neath the vast golden spaces like witnessing faces
That watch the eternity strong in the troth-

I love thee, I leave thee,
Live for thee, die for thee!
I prove thee, deceive thee,

Undo evermore thee !
Help me, God ! slay me, man !-one is mourning for both.
And we stand up though young near the funeral-sheet
Which covers old Cæsar and old Pharamond,
And death is so nigh us, life cools from its heat.

O Life, O Beyond,
Art thou fair, art thou sweet?

Then we act to a purpose, we spring up erect :
We will tame the wild mouths of the wilderness-steeds,
We will plough up the deep in the ships double-decked,
We will build the great cities, and do the great deeds,
Strike the steel upon steel, strike the soul upon soul,
Strike the dole on the weal, overcoming the dole.
Let the cloud meet the cloud in a grand thunder-roll !
“ While the eagle of Thought rides the tempest in scorn,
Who cares if the lightning is burning the corn?

Let us sit on the thrones

In a purple sublimity,
And grind down men's bones

To a pale unanimity.

« AnteriorContinuar »