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The Minister-at-War of the Republic;
That not Cayenne, that not some imitated
Second Helena, holds the patriot's ashes,
Thank thy Czar's clemency, imperial France!
A grassy bank invites us and we sit
Between, but not too near, two prickly leaved,
Shriveled, unsocial Scolym bushes stiff,
Under an Ilex’ shadow, evergreen,
Less for the sake of rest than to count over
The florets of the nosegay in our hand
By Flora placed this Tuesday before Christmas
Of the year Sixty beyond Eighteen hundred.
Euphorbia segetalis she had wreathed
With rosemary and mint and olive branch
And budding almond and the full blown flower
Of golden-disked Chrysanthem coronarium
And purpling Salvia salutiferous,
Fragrant adornment of the roadside mound,
And green Cneorum's sulphur-yellow bloom
Tripetalous, tricoccous, from the brink
Of Estramer's warm-gushing, saline spring,
Plucked by the Goddess, as this morning early,
Hid by the Giant Reeds, she bathed unseen.
These with thyme odoriferous she had mingled
Not the Serpyllum of the pale, cold North,
But glowing southern Europe's spicier thyme
And added here and there a button bright
And fresh green leaf of wholesome dandelion
Here nothing loath to breathe December's air.
Nor had she overlooked thee, Diplotaxis,
Spangling the vineyards like fair Lady’s-smock,
Nor thee or thy Vanilla-pod perfume,
Marine Alyssum white, nor, Xanthium, thee
Who into gold transmuted'st the gray hair
Of faded Grecian belle, and to their throne
Ledst fugitive Venus back, and grace and love;
Nor had she not set starlike in the midst
Three sprigs of pink Centaurea Calcitrap,
Chloroform faithless of the centaur surgeon's
Own wounded knee with three sprigs of echioid
Helminthia yellow, intermixed, and three
Half opened blossoms of Provençal furze,
And to Agave given the whole to bind
A lovely nosegay! but we sought in vain
For leaf of that green Hellebore that so
Our roadsides had enlivened in the Alps
And down the Durance' waste and gravelly bed,
Or sprig of that sweet lavender which poured
An atmosphere Sabaean round the bleak,
Shingle-encumbered flanks of Mont Ventoux.
Asses, with empty paniers on their back,
And mules graze tethered in the ditch beside us;
Peasants in groups sit on the bank beyond
Dining, and mark with curious eye the strangers;
Some, still at work, salute us from the fields,
As, into basket or spread sheet, they gather,
And carry toward the ditch, the ripe, black olives,
Or lop the bare vine boughs and tie in bundles.
From shoot and leaf and root, avert, next year,
Th’ Ordeum plague, O joy-bestowing Bacchus!
And thou, O Maid of Athens, to o'erflowing
“Io vado e vengo ogni giorno,
Ma tu andrai senza ritorno.”
Motto on a sundial in Arma, a small village between
San Remo and Porto Maurizio (Liguria Occidentale).
I daily come and daily go;
But thou, once gone, com’st never mo'.
I 'm daily born and daily die,
Thou 'rt born but once, but once to die,
And there 's an end. Be off, good bye,
Poor, silly fool! great Time am I.
Walking from ARMA to Porto MAURIZIO, Jan. 18, 1861.
ORTUNA favet fortibus,” they say, And I believe it true, but in this way: Fortune 's a cheat, who, skilled at thimble-rig, Neither for brave nor coward cares one fig, But takes out gold, and challenges to play; The coward, faint of heart, turns pale away; The brave puts down his stake, the totum spins, And, losing often, some mere odd time wins, And clears the board; the proverb hence arose That Fortune to the brave her favor shows.
SESTRI DI LEVANTE (LIGURIA ORIENTALE), Jan. 26, 1861.
“I 'd like to know," said Fate to Fortune, once, “Why men so love and court and honor thee, Mé fear and shun and hold in detestation.” “The reason 's plain," said Fortune with a smile, “Thou hast a certain rude and savage way Which terrifies the vulgar, and which scarce Even the magnanimous hero bears with patience. My manners thou 'lt excuse the vanity Are gentle, and conciliate esteem.” “I do as much for men as thou, or more,'
Said Fate, "and should be liked at least as well."
"It's all our different manners, I insist,"
Said Fortune; “manners make the man, men say;
I say it 's manners, manners make the God:
Venus frowns never, Pallas never laughs,
Who thinks of bowing to a limping Jove,
Or to stand by him in the brunt of battle,
Invokes a civeted, spruce, smirking Mars ?
Let 's put it to the test, Fate; I 'll take thine,
And thou, my manners, and we 'll separate here,
To meet again soon, and compare experience."
So said, so done; they parted, met again,
And thus to Fortune with a smile said Fate:
“Well! men are fools, who from the manner form
Their judgment of the matter. Here, take back
Thy gracious, condescending, winning ways,
And give me back my dignity austere.
Men's homage is not worth the pains to please them."
But Fortune now accustomed to grand pas
And sullen state retired, and dignity,
And to indulge her humor: -- "Not so fast,
Good sister Fate; “in medio tutius itur.”
Keep thou one half of mine, and I 'll of thine
One half keep, and we 'll be henceforth the same
In manner, as we've heretofore the same
In heart and spirit been, and love and purpose,
Unanimous, indissoluble, one."
Fate, nothing loath, agreed, and from that day
The sisters pass indifferent for each other,
Fate in good humor being Fortune called,
And frowning, disobliging Fortune, Fate.
So runs the myth; receive it, if you like;
I, for my part, believe that Fate and Fortune
Are but one person called by different names,