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TO A FRIEND.
And such joys as these she'll bring
Honour to the Lincoln green! Let the winged Fancy roam,
Honour to the archer keen!
Honour to tight little John,
Honour to bold Robin Hood,
Sleeping in the underwood !
Honour to maid Marian, No! those days are gone away,
And to all the Sherwood-clan! And their hours are old and gray,
Though their days have hurried by,
Let us two a burden try.
So ended Saturn; and the God of the Sea,
Sophist and sage, from no Athenian grove, Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
But cogitation in his watery shades, Since men knew nor rent nor leases.
Arose, with locks not oozy, and began,
In murmurs, which his first-endeavouring tongue No! the bugle sounds no more,
Caught infant-like from the far-foamed sands. And the twanging bow no more;
“Oye, whom wrath consumes! who, passion-stung, Silent is the ivory shrill,
Writhe at defeat, and nurse your agonies! Past the heath and up the hill;
Shut up your senses, stifle up your ears, There is no mid-forest laugh,
My voice is not a bellows unto ire. Where lone Echo gives the half
Yet listen, ye who will, whilst I bring proof To some wight, amaz'd to hear
How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop:
And in the proof much comfort will I give,
ye will take that comfort in its truth. On the fairest time of June
We fall by course of nature's law, not force You may go, with sun or moon,
Of thunder, or of Jove. Great Saturn, thou Or the seven stars to light you,
Hast sifted well the atom-universe; Or the polar ray to right you;
But for this reason, that thou art the king, But you never may behold
And only blind from sheer supremacy, Little John, or Robin bold;
One avenue was shaded from thine eyes, Never one, of all the clan,
Through which I wandered to eternal truth. Thrumming on an empty can
And first, as thou wast not the first of powers, Some old hunting dirty, while
So art thou not the last; it cannot be: He doth his green way beguile
Thou art not the beginning nor the end. To fair hostess Merriment,
From chaos and parental darkness came Down beside the pasture Trent;
Light, the first fruits of that intestine broil, For he left the merry tale,
That sullen ferment, which for wondrous ends Messenger for spicy ale.
Was ripening in itself. The ripe hour came, Gone, the merry morris din;
And with it light, and light, engendering Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
Upon its own producer, forth with touch'd
The whole enormous matter into life.
Upon that very hour, our parentage,
The heavens and the earth, were manifest: And if Robin should be cast
Then thou first-born, and we the giant-race, Sudden from his turfed grave,
Found ourselves ruling new and beauteous realms. And if Marian should have
Now comes the pain of truth, to whom 'tis pain; Once again her forest days,
O folly! for to bear all naked truths, She would weep, and he would craze:
And to envisage circumstance, all calm, He would swear, for all his oaks,
That is the top of sovereignty. Mark well! Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes,
As heaven and earth are fairer, fairer far Have rotted on the briny seas;
Than chaos and blank darkness, though once chiefs; She would weep that her wild bees
And as we show beyond that heaven and earth Sang not to her-strange! that honey
In form and shape compact and beautiful, Can't be got without hard money!
In will, in action free, companionship,
And thousand other signs of purer life; So it is: yet let us sing,
So on our heels a fresh perfection treads, Honour to the old bow-string!
A power more strong in beauty, born of us Honour to the bugle-horn!
And fated to excel us, as we pass Honour to the woods unsliorn!
In glory that old darkness: nor are we
Thereby more conquer'd, than by us the rule I would not bode of evil, if I thought
So weak a creature could turn off the help
Which by just right should come of mighty gods; And feedeth still, more comely than itself?
Yet let me tell my sorrow, let me tell Can it deny the chiefdom of green groves?
Of what I heard, and how it made me weep, Or shall the tree be envious of the dove
And know that we had parted from all hope. Because it cooeth, and hath snowy wings
I stood upon a shore, a pleasant shore, To wander wherewithal and find its joys?
Where a sweet clime was breathed from a land We are such forest-trees, and our fair boughs Of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers. Have bred forth, not pale solitary doves,
Full of calm joy it was, as I of grief; But eagles golden-feather’d, who do tower
Too full of joy and soft delicious warmth ; Above us in their beauty, and must reign
So that I felt a movement in my heart In right thereof; for 'tis the eternal law
To chide and to reproach that solitude That first in beauty should be first in might: With songs of misery, music of our woes; Yea, by that law, another race may drive
And sat me down, and took a mouthed shell Our conquerors to mourn as we do now.
And murmur'd into it, and made melodyHave ye beheld the young God of the Seas,
O melody no more! for while I sang, My dispossessor ? have ye seen his face?
And with poor skill let pass into the breeze Have ye beheld his chariot, foam'd along
The dull shell's echo, from a bowery strand By noble winged creatures he hath made?
Just opposite, an island of the sea, I saw him on the calmed waters scud,
There came enchantment with the shifting wind, With such a glow of beauty in his eyes,
That did both drown and keep alive my ears. That it enforc'd me to bid sad farewell
I threw my shell away upon the sand, To all my empire : farewell sad I took,
And a wave fill'd it, as my sense was fillid
With that new blissful golden melody.
Each family of rapturous hurried notes,
That fell, one after one, yet all at once, Whether through poz'd conviction, or disdain, Like pearl beads dropping sudden from their string: They guarded silence, when Oceanus
And then another, then another strain, Left murmuring, what deepest thought can tell ? Each like a dore leaving its olive perch, But so it was, none answer'd for a space,
With music wing'd instead of silent plumes,
To hover round my head, and make me sick
When, past all hindrance of my trembling hands, “ O father, I am here the simplest voice,
A voice came sweeter, sweeter than all tune, And all my knowledge is that joy is gone,
And still it cried, • Apollo! young Apollo! And this thing woe crept in among our hearts, The morning-bright Apollo! young Apollo!' There to remain for ever, as I fear:
I Aed, it follow'd me, and cried • Apollo!'”
Unmov'd, and stifed murmurs of applause,
A moment, and the apparition bright
HENGIST CONSULTS THE ORACLE.
ROWENA INTRODUCED. Ceas'd the bold strain, then deep the Saxon drain’d The ruddy cup, and savage joy uncouth Lit his blue gleaming eyes: nor sate unmov'd The Briton Chiefs; fierce thoughts began to rise Of ancient wars, and high ancestral fame. Sudden came floating through the hall an air So strangely sweet, the o'erwrought sense scarce felt Its rich excess of pleasure; softer sounds Melt never on the enchanted midnight cool, By haunted spring, where elfin dancers trace Green circlets on the moonlight dews; nor lull Becalmed mariner from rocks, where basks At summer noon the sea-maid; he his oar Breathless suspends, and motionless his bark Sleeps on the sleeping waters. Now the notes So gently died away, the silence seem'd Melodious; merry now and light and blithe They danced on air: anon came tripping forth In frolic grace a maiden troop, their locks [zone Flower-wreathed, their snowy robes from clasped Fell careless drooping, quick their glittering feet Glanc'd o'er the pavement. Then the pomp of sound Swell'd up, and mounted; as the stately swan, Her milk-white neck embowered in arching spray, Queens it along the waters, entered in The lofty hall a shape so fair, it lullid The music into silence, yet itself Pour'd out, prolonging the soft extacy, The trembling and the touching of sweet sound. Her grace of motion and of look, the smooth And swimming majesty of step and tread, The symmetry of form and feature, set The soul afloat, even like delicious airs Of flute or harp: as though she trod from earth, And round her wore an emanating cloud Of harmony, the Lady mov’d. Too proud For less than absolute command, too soft For aught but gentle amorous thought: her hair Cluster’d, as from an orb of gold cast out A dazzling and o'erpowering radiance, save Here and there on her snowy neck repos'd In a sooth'd brilliance some thin wandering tress. The azure flashing of her eye was fring'd With virgin meekness, and her tread, that seem'd Earth to disdain, as softly fell on it As the light dew-shower on a tuft of flowers. The soul within seem'd feasting on high thoughts, That to the outward form and feature gave A loveliness of scorn, scoru that to feel Was bliss, was sweet indulgence. Fast sank back Those her fair harbingers, their modest eyes, Downcast, and drooping low their slender necks In graceful reverence; shie, by wond'ring gaze
And now have Hengist and Caswallon climbid
In restless change, God's softer summer works
Save when from their long-menacing brows they Down sink the summond mighty, and expand shake
Valhalla's cloudy portals; to their thrones, The ruining Avalanche; unvisited
They the triumphant strangers lead, and pour By motion, but of sailing clouds, when sleets Lavish the eternal beverage of the Gods. From their unwasting granary barb their darts, And the grim North wind loads his rimy wings. Nor trace of man, save many a fathom deep,
THE FOUNTAIN OF SILOE-NIGHT. Haply dark signs of some tall people strange, That walk'd the infant earth, may shroud profound
Sweet fountain, once again I visit thee! Their legends inaccessible. They soar
And thou art flowing on, and freshening still In headlong precipice, or pyramid
The green moss, and the flowers that bend to thee, Linking the earth and heaven, to which the piles
Modestly with a soft unboastful murmur Where those Egyptian despots rot sublime,
Rejoicing at the blessings that thou bearest. Or even that frantic Babylonian tower,
Pure, stainless, thou art flowing on; the stars Were frivolous domes for laughter and for scorn. Make thee their mirror, and the moonlight beams Nor wants soft interchange of vale, where smiles
Course one another o'er thy silver bosom: White mimicry of foliage and thin flower.
And yet thy flowing is through fields of blood, Feathery and fanlike spreads the leafy ice,
And armed men their hot and weary brows With dropping cup, and roving tendril loose,
Slake with thy limpid and perennial coolness. As though the glassy dews o'er flower and herb
Even with such rare and singular purity Their silken moisture had congeal'd, and yet Mov'st thou, oh Miriam! in yon cruel city. Within that slender veil their knots profuse
Men's eyes o'erwearied with the sights of war, Blossom'd and blush'd with tender life, the couch
With tumult and with grief, repose on thee
As on a refuge and a sweet refreshment.
Voice at a distance.
It is her voice! the air is fond of it,
From the ear that thirsteth for them-Miriam! A light of azure, wavering to display No sights, no shapes of darkness and of fear.
JAVAN, MIRIAM. Tremblingly flash'd the inconstant meteor light,
Javan. Shewing thin forms, like virgins of this earth,
Nay, stand thus in thy timid breathlessness, Save that all signs of human joy or grief,
That I may gaze on thee, and thou not chide me The flush of passion, smile or tear had seem'd
Because I gaze too fondly.
Hast thou brought me From purest snow, the fair of earth to shame,
Thy wonted offerings? Surpassing beauteous : breath of mortal life
Javan. Heaved not their bosoms, and no rosy blood
Dearest, they are here: Tinged their full veins, yet mov'd they, and their
The bursting fig, the cool and ripe pomegranate, steps
The skin all rosy with the imprison'd wine; Were harmony. But three of that bright troop, All I can bear thee, more than thou canst bear The loveliest and the wildest, stood aloof,
Home to the city. Enwrapt by what in human form were like
Bless thee! Oh my father!
How will thy famish’d and thy toil-bow'd frame
Resume its native majesty! thy words, [lips Bitter he spake_“ No marvel Saxon souls
When this bright draught hath slak'd thy parched Revel in war's delights, so stern, so fierce
Flow with their wonted freedom and command! Their deities.” Severe with wrath supprest, As one ill brooking that irreverent mirth
Javan. Scoff’d the wild lore, himself ne'er dared to doubt, Thy father! still no thought but of thy father! Answer'd the son of Woden. “ These, proud Nay, Miriam! but thou must hear me now, Chief,
Now ere we part—if we must part again, So snowy, soft, and airy gentle, these
If my sad spirit must be rent from thine. Are ministers of destiny and death,
Even now our city trembles on the verge The viewless Riders of the battle-field:
Of utter ruin. Yet a night or two, When sounds the rushing of their sable steeds, And the fierce stranger in our burning streets
Stands conqueror: and how the Roman conquers, Of frantic men in battle rack the soul
With their importunate and jarring din,
Javan, I think on thee, and am at peace.
Sit patient with an enviable smile
My very prayers are full of thee, I look
And-Oh! but I have said too much. Oh! scorn not
The immodest maid, whom thou hast vex'd to utter Miriam.
What yet she scarce dared whisper to herself.
Sweet, musical as thus? and wilt thou leave me? I hop'd with thee t' have passed a tranquil hour,
Miriam. A brief, a hurried, yet still tranquil hour !
My father! - But thou art like them all! the miserable
Javan. Have only Heaven, where they can rest in peace,
Miriam! is not thy father Without being mock'd and taunted with their
(Oh, that such flowers should bloom on such a stock !) misery Javan.
The curse of Israel? even his common name
Simon the assassin! of the bloody men Thou know'st it is a lover's wayward joy
That hold their iron sway within yon city, To be reproach'd by her he loves, or thus
The bloodiest! Thou would'st not speak. But t'was not to provoke
Miriam. That sweet reproof, which sounds so like to tenderness :
Oh cease, I pray thee cease!
Javan! I know that all men hate my father; I would alarm thee, shock thee, but to save.
Javan! I fear that all should hate my father; That old and secret stair, down which thou stealest
And therefore, Javan, must his daughter's love, At midnight through tall grass and olive trunks, Which cumber, yet conceal thy difficult path,
Her dutiful, her deep, her fervent love, It cannot long remain secure and open;
Make up to his forlorn and desolate heart
The forfeited affections of his kind.
Is it not written so in our Law ? and He
We worship came not to destroy the Law.
Then let men rain their curses, let the storm
Of human hate beat on his rugged trunk, In Pella the neglected church of Christ.
I will cling to him, starve, die, bear the scoffs Miriam.
Of men upon my scatter'd bones with him. With thee! to fly with thee! thou mak'st me fear
Javan. Lest all the while I have deceived my soul,
Oh, Miriam! what a fatal art hast thou Excusing to myself our stolen meetings
Of winding thought, word, act, to thy sole purpose; By the fond thought, that for my father's life
The enamouring one even now too much enamour'd! I labour'd, bearing sustenance from thee,
I must admire thee more for so denying, Which he hath deem'd heaven-sent.
Than I had dared if thou hadst fondly granted.
Thou dost devote thyself to utterest peril,
And me to deepest anguish; yet ev
Thou art lovelier to me in thy cold severity That Miriam loves me!
Flying me, leaving me without a joy,
Without a hope on earth, without thyself;
Thou art lovelier now than if thy yielding soul
The last in all the thick and moonless heavens, Toits mother's bosom-Love thee! when the sounds O'er the lone traveller in the trackless desert. Of massacre are round me, when the shouts
Go! if this dark and miserable earth