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“So sing old worlds, and so
New worlds that from my footstool go.
« Clearer loves sound other ways:
I miss my little human praise.'
Then forth sprang Gabriel's wings, off fell
The flesh disguise, remained the cell.
’T was Easter Day: he flew to Rome,
And paused above Saint Peter's dome.
In the tiring-room close by
The great outer gallery,
With his holy vestments dight,
Stood the new Pope, Theocrite
And all his past career
Came back upon him clear,
Since when, a boy, he plied his trade,
Till on his life the sickness weighed ;
And in his cell, when death drew near,
An angel in a dream brought cheer;
And rising from the sickness drear
He grew a priest, and now stood here.
To the East with praise he turned,
And on his sight the angel burned.
“I bore thee from thy craftsman's cell,
And set thee here; I did not well.
“ Vainly I left my angel’s-sphere, Vain was thy dream of many a year.
Thy voice's praise seemed weak; it dropped, Creation's chorus stopped !
“Go back and praise again
The early way, — while I remain.
“ With that weak voice of our disdain, Take up Creation's pausing strain.
“ Back to the cell and poor employ: Become the craftsman and the boy!”
Theocrite grew old at home;
A new Pope dwelt in Peter's Dome.
One vanished as the other died :
They sought God side by side.
'VE a Friend, over the sea ;
I like him, but he loves me;
It all grew out of the books I write;
They find such favor in his sight
That he slaughters you with savage looks
Because you don't admire my books:
He does himself though, and if some vein
Were to snap to-night in this heavy brain,
To-morrow month, if I lived to try,
Round should I just turn quietly,
Or out of the bedclothes stretch my hand
Till I found him, come from his foreign land
To be my nurse in this poor place,
And make me broth and wash my face,
And light my fire, and, all the while,
Bear with his old good-humored smile
That I told him, “ Better have kept away
Than come and kill me, night and day,
With worse than fever's throbs and shoots,
At the creaking of his clumsy boots.”
I am as sure that this he would do,
As that St. Paul's is striking Two:
And I think I had rather ... woe is me
- Yes, rather see him than not see,
If lifting a hand would seat him there
Before me in the empty chair
To-night, when my head aches indeed,
And I can neither think, nor read,
And these blue fingers will not hold
The pen ; this garret 's freezing cold!
And I 've a Lady — There he wakes,
The laughing fiend and prince of snakes
Within me, at her name, to pray
Fate send some creature in the way
Of my love for her, to be down-torn,
Upthrust and onward borne
So I might prove myself that sea
Of passion which I needs must be !
Call my thoughts false and my fancies quaint,
And my style infirm, and its figures faint,
All the critics say, and more blame yet,
And not one angry word you get !
But, please you, wonder I would put
My cheek beneath that Lady's foot
Rather than trample under mine
The laurels of the Florentine,
And you shall see how the Devil spends
A fire God gave for other ends !
I tell you, I stride up and down
This garret, crowned with love's best crown,
And feasted with love's perfect feast,
To think I kill for her, at least,
Body and soul and peace and fame,
Alike youth's end and manhood's aim,
So is my spirit, as flesh with sin,
Filled full, eaten out and in
With the face of her, the eyes of her,
The lips and little chin, the stir
Of shadow round her mouth; and she
-I'll tell you — calmly would decree
That I should roast at a slow fire,
If that would compass her desire
And make her one
they invite To the famous ball to-morrow night.
There may be Heaven; there must be Hell;
Meantime, there is our Earth here, — well !
EIGH-HO!” yawned one day King Francis,
· Distance all value enhances !
When a man 's busy, why, leisure
Strikes him as wonderful pleasure.
'Faith, and at leisure once is he?
Straightway he wants to be busy.
Here we've got peace; and aghast I'm
Caught thinking war the true pastime!
Is there a reason in metre?
Give us your speech, master Peter!”
I who, if mortal dare say so,
Ne'er am at loss with my Naso,
“ Sire," I replied, “joys prove cloudlets :
Men are the merest Ixions,"
Here the King whistled aloud, “Let 's
· go look at our lions !”
Such are the sorrowful chances
If you talk fine to King Francis.
And so, to the court-yard proceeding,
Our company, Francis was leading,
Increased by new followers tenfold
Before he arrived at the penfold ;
Lords, ladies, like clouds which bedizen
At sunset the western horizon.
And Sir De Lorge pressed ’mid the foremost
With the dame he professed to adore most,
0, what a face! One by fits eyed
Her, and the horrible pitside;
For the penfold surrounded a hollow
Which led where the eye scarce dared follow,
And shelved to the chamber secluded
Where Bluebeard, the great lion, brooded.
The King hailed his keeper, an Arab
As glossy and black as a scarab,
And bade him make sport and at once stir
Up and out of his den the old monster.
They opened a hole in the wire-work
Across it, and dropped there a firework,
And fled; one's heart's beating redoubled;
A pause, while the pit's mouth was troubled,
The blackness and silence so utter,
By the firework's slow sparkling and sputter;
Then earth in a sudden contortion
Gave out to our gaze her abortion !
Such a brute! Were I friend Clement Marot
(Whose experience of nature 's but narrow,
And whose faculties move in no small mist
When he versifies David the Psalmist)
I should study that brute to describe you
Illum Juda Leonem de Tribu!
One's whole blood grew curdling and creepy
To see the black mane, vast and heapy,
The tail in the air stiff and straining,
The wide eyes, nor waxing nor waning,
As over the barrier which bounded
His platform, and us who surrounded
The barrier, they reached and they rested