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Image the whole, then execute the parts —
Fancy the fabric

70 Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire from

Erè mortar dab brick !


This high man, aiming at a million,

Misses an unit. That, has the world here should he need the


Let the world mind him! This, throws himself on God, and unperplexed

Seeking shall find him. So, with the throttling hands of death at strife,

Ground he at grammar; Still, through the rattle, parts of speech were


While he could stammer
He settled Hoti's business let it be ! -

Properly based Oun -
Gave us the doctrine of the enclitic De,

Dead from the waist down.
Well, here's the platform, here's the proper


Hail to your purlieus,
All ye highfliers of the feathered race,

Swallows and curlews!
Here's the top-peak; the multitude below

Live, for they can, there:
This man decided not to Live but Know
Bury this man there?

140 Here - here's his place, where meteors shoot,

clouds form,

Lightnings are loosened, Stars come and go! Let joy break with the


Peace let the dew send !
Lofty designs must close in like effects:

Loftily lying,
Leave him — still loftier than the world suspects

Living and dying.

(Here's the town-gate reached : there's the


Gaping before us.)
Yea, this in him was the peculiar grace

(Hearten our chorus !)
That before living he'd learn how to live –

No end to learning: Earn the means first — God surely will contrive Use for our earning.

80 Others mistrust and say, “But time escapes:

Live now or never!He said, “What's time? Leave Now for dogs

and apes!

Man has Forever." Back to his book then: deeper drooped his


Calculus racked him:
Leaden before, his eyes grew dross of lead:

Tussis attacked him.
Now, master, take a little rest I”. not he!

(Caution redoubled,
Step two abreast, the way winds narrowly !)

Not a whit troubled,
Back to his studies, fresher than at first,

Fierce as a dragon
He (soul-hydroptic with a sacred thirst)

Sucked at the flagon.
Oh, if we draw a circle premature,

Heedless of far gain,
Greedy for quick returns of profit, sure

Bad is our bargain!
Was it not great ? did not he throw on God,

(He loves the burthen)
God's task to make the heavenly period

Perfect the earthen?
Did not he magnify the mind, show clear

Just what it all meant ?
He would not discount life, as fools do here,

Paid by instalment.
He ventured neck or nothing — heaven's success

Found, or earth's failure: “Wilt thou trust death or not?" He answered


Hence with life's pale lure!”
That low man seeks a little thing to do,

Sees it and does it:
This high man, with a great thing to pursue,

Dies ere he knows it.
That low man goes on adding one to one,

His hundred's soon hit:





(See Edgar's song in Lear) My first thought was, he lied in every word,

That hoary cripple, with malicious eye

Askance to watch the working of his lie On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored

Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby. 6

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If at his counsel I should turn aside

Into that ominous tract which, all agree,

Hides the Dark Tower. Yet acquiescingly I did turn as he pointed: neither pride Nor hope rekindling at the end descried, 17

So much as gladness that some end might be. For, what with my whole world-wide wandering, What with my search drawn out through years,

my hope Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope With that obstreperous joy success would bring, – I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring

My heart made, finding failure in its scope. 24 As when a sick man very near to death

Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end

The tears, and takes the farewell of each friend, And hears one bid the other go, draw breath Freelier outside, (“since all is o'er," he saith, 29

“And the blow fallen no grieving can amend;") While some discuss if near the other graves

Be room enough for this, and when a day

Suits best for carrying the corpse away, With care about the banners, scarves and staves: And still the man hears all, and only craves 35

He may not shame such tender love and stay. Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,

Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ

So many times among “The Band” – to wit, The knights who to the Dark Tower's search

addressed Their steps — that just to fail as they, seemed best,

And all the doubt was now should I be fit?

No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land's portion.

“See Or shut your eyes,” said Nature peevishly, "It nothing skills: I cannot help my case: 'Tis the Last Judgment's fire must cure this place,

Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.” 66 If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk Above its mates, the head was chopped; the

bents Were jealous else. What made those holes

and rents In the dock's harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to

balk All hope of greenness? 'tis a brute must walk

Pashing their life out, with a brute's intents. 72 As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair

In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud Which underneath looked kneaded up with

blood. One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare, Stood stupefied, however he came there:

Thrust out past service from the devil's stud! Alive ? he might be dead for aught I know,

With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain,

And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane; Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe; I never saw a brute I hated so;

He must be wicked to deserve such pain. 84 I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart.

As a man calls for wine before he fights,

I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights, Ere fitly I could hope to play my part. Think first, fight afterwards — the soldier's art:

One taste of the old time sets all to rights. 90


So, quiet as despair, I turned from him,

43 That hateful cripple, out of his highway

Into the path he pointed. All the day Had been a dreary one at best, and dim Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim

Red leer to see the plain catch its estray. For mark! no sooner was I fairly found

Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,

Than, pausing to throw backward a last view O'er the safe road, 'twas gone; grey plain all

round: Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound.

I might go on; naught else remained to do. 54

Not it! I fancied Cuthbert's reddening face

Beneath its garniture of curly gold,

Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold An arm in mine to fix me to the place, That way he used. Alas, one night's disgrace!

Out went my heart's new fire and left it cold. 96

So, on I went. I think I never saw

Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:

For flowers - as well expect a cedar grove! But cockle, spurge, according to their law Might propagate their kind, with none to awe, 59

You'd think: a burr had been a treasure trove.

Giles then, the soul of honour - there he stands

Frank as ten years ago when knighted first. What honest man should dare (he said) he

durst. Good — but the scene shifts — faugh! what

hangman hands Pin to his breast a parchment? His own bands

Read it. Poor traitor, spit upon and curst ! Better this present than a past like that; 103

Back therefore to my darkening path again!

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Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,

Now patches where some leanness of the soil's

Broke into moss or substances like boils; Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim

Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils. 156

And just as far as ever from the end !

Naught in the distance but the evening, naught

To point my footstep further! At the thought, A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom-friend, Sailed past, nor beat his wide wing dragon

penned That brushed my cap— perchance the guide I sought.


A sudden little river crossed my path

As unexpected as a serpent comes.

No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms; This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath For the fiend's glowing hoof to see the wrath

Of its black eddy bespate with ilakes and spumes. So petty yet so spiteful! All along,

115 Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it;

Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit Of mute despair, a suicidal throng: The river which had done them all the wrong,

Whate'er that was, rolled by, deterred no whit. Which, while I forded, good saints, how I

feared To set my foot upon a dead man's cheek,

Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard !

It may have been a water-rat I speared,

But, ugh! it sounded like a baby's shriek. 126 Glad was I when I reached the other bank.

Now for a better country. Vain presage ! Who were the strugglers, what war did they

wage, Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank Soil to a plash ? Toads in a poisoned tank, Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage



For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,

'Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place All round to mountains with such name to

grace Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view. How thus they had surprised me, solve it, you !

How to get from them was no clearer case. 168 Yet half I seemed to recognise some trick Of mischief happened to me, God knows

when In a bad dream perhaps. Here ended, then, Progress this way. When, in the very nick Of giving up, one time more, came a click 173

As when a trap shuts — you're inside the den!


The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque. What penned them there, with all the plain to

choose? No footprint leading to that horrid mews, None out of it. Mad brewage set to work Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk

Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews. And more than that - a furlong on — why,

there! What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,

Or brake, not wheel — that harrow fit to reel Men's bodies out like silk? with all the air Of Tophet's tool, on earth left unaware,

143 Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.

Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the

right, Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in

fight; While to the left, a tall scalped mountain ..

Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!



What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
The round squat turret, blind as the fool's

Built of brown stone, without a counterpart
In the whole world. The tempest's mocking elf
Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf

He strikes on, only when the timbers start. 186

Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood, Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere

earth Desperate and done with: (so a fool finds

mirth, Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood

Not see? because of night perhaps ? why, day

Came back again for that! before it left,
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:

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Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled

Increasing like a bell. Names in my ears,

Of all the lost adventurers my peers, How such a one was strong, and such was bold, And such was fortunate, yet each of old Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.

198 There they stood, ranged along the hillsides,

met To view the last of me, a living frame

For one more picture ! in a sheet of fame I saw them and I knew them all. And yet Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set, And blew. Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came."


Of the munificent House that harbours me
(And many more beside, lads! more beside !) 30
And all's come square again. I'd like his face –
His, elbowing on his comrade in the door
With the pike and lantern, — for the slave that

holds John Baptist's head a-dangle by the hair With one hand (“Look you, now," as who

should say) And his weapon in the other, yet unwiped ! It's not your chance to have a bit of chalk, A wood-coal or the like? or you should see ! Yes, I'm the painter, since you style me so. What, brother Lippo's doings, up and down, You know them and they take you ? like enough! I saw the proper twinkle in your eye 'Tell you, I liked your looks at very first. Let's sit and set things straight now, hip to haunch. Here's spring come, and the nights one makes


up bands



I am poor brother Lippo, by your leave !
You need not clap your torches to my face.
Zooks, what's to blame? you think you see a

What, 'tis past midnight, and you go the rounds,
And here you catch me at an alley's end
Where sportive ladies leave their doors ajar?
The Carmine's my cloister: hunt it up,
Do, — harry out, if you must show your zeal,
Whatever rat, there, haps on his wrong hole,
And nip each softling of a wee white mouse,
Weke, weke, that's crept to keep him company!
Aha, you know your betters! Then, you'll take
Your hand away that's fiddling on my throat,
And please to know me likewise. Who am I?
Why, one, sir, who is lodging with a friend
Three streets off — he's a certain . . . how d’ye

call ? Master - a.. Cosimo of the Medici, I'the house that caps the corner.

were best! Remember and tell me, the day you're hanged, How you affected such a gullet's-gripe ! But you, sir, it concerns you that your knaves Pick up a manner nor discredit you: Zooks, are we pilchards, that they sweep the

streets And count fair prize what comes into their net ? He's Judas to a tittle, that man is ! Just such a face! Why, sir, you make amends. Lord, I'm not angry! Bid your hangdogs go Drink out this quarter-florin to the health

To roam the town and sing out carnival,
And I've been three weeks shut within my

A-painting for the great man, saints and saints
And saints again. I could not paint all night
Ouf! I leaned out of window for fresh air.

50 There came a hurry of feet and little feet, A sweep of lute-strings, laughs, and whifts of

song, Flower o' the broom, Take away love, and our earth is a tomb! Flower o' the quince, I let Lisa go, and what good in life since ? Flower o' the thyme - and so on. Round they

went. Scarce had they turned the corner when a titter Like the skipping of rabbits by moonlight,

three slim shapes, And a face that looked up ... zooks, sir, flesh and blood,

60 That's all I'm made of! Into shreds it went, Curtain and counterpane and coverlet, All the bed-furniture - a dozen knots, There was a ladder! Down I let myself, Hands and feet, scrambling somehow, and so

dropped, And after them. I came up with the fun Hard by Saint Laurence, hail fellow, well met, Flower o' the rose, If I've been merry, what matter who knows ? And so as I was stealing back again To get to bed and have a bit of sleep Ere I rise up to-morrow and go work On Jerome knocking at his poor old breast With his great round stone to subdue the flesh, You snap me of the sudden. Ah, I see!

Boh! you


70 a

Though your eye twinkles still, you shake your

head Mine's shaved a monk, you say the sting's

in that! If Master Cosimo announced himself, Mum's the word naturally; but a monk ! Come, what am I a beast for? tell us, now! 80 I was a baby when my mother died And father died and left me in the street. I starved there, God knows how, a year or two On fig-skins, melon-parings, rinds and shucks, Refuse and rubbish. One fine frosty day, My stomach being empty as your hat, The wind doubled me up and down I went. Old Aunt Lapaccia trussed me with one hand, (Its fellow was a stinger as I knew) And so along the wall, over the bridge, ୨୦ By the straight cut to the convent. Six words

there, While I stood munching my first bread that

month: “So, boy, you're minded," quoth the good fat

father, Wiping his own mouth, 'twas refection-time, “To quit this very miserable world? Will you renounce" .. "the mouthful of

bread ?” thought I; “By no means!” Brief, they made a monk of me; I did renounce the world, its pride and greed, Palace, farm, villa, shop, and banking-house, Trash, such as these poor devils of Medici Have given their hearts to— all at eight years old. Well, sir, I found in time, you may be sure, 'Twas not for nothing — the good bellyful, The warm serge and the rope that goes all round, And day-long blessed idleness beside ! “Let's see what the urchin's fit for" — that

Why, soul and sense of him grow sharp alike,
He learns the look of things, and none the less
For admonition from the hunger-pinch.
I had a store of such remarks, be sure,
Which, after I found leisure, turned to use.
I drew men's faces on my copy-books,

Scrawled them within the antiphonary's marge,
Joined legs and arms to the long music-notes,
Found eyes and nose and chin for A's and B's,
And made a string of pictures of the world
Betwixt the ins and outs of verb and noun,
On the wall, the bench, the door. The monks

looked black. "Nay,” quoth the Prior, “turn him out, d'ye say? In no wise. Lose a crow and catch a lark. What if at last we get our man of parts, We Carmelites, like those Camaldolese

139 And Preaching Friars, to do our church up fine And put the front on it that ought to be !” And hereupon he bade me daub away. Thank you! my head being crammed, the walls

a blank, Never was such prompt disemburdening. First, every sort of monk, the black and white, I drew them, fat and lean: then, folk at church, From good old gossips waiting to confess Their cribs of barrel-droppings, candle-ends, – To the breathless fellow at the altar-foot, Fresh from his murder, safe and sitting there 150 With the little children round him in a row Of admiration, half for his beard and half For that white anger of his victim's son Shaking a fist at him with one fierce arm, Signing himself with the other because of Christ (Whose sad face on the cross sees only this After the passion of a thousand years) Till some poor girl, her apron o'er her head, (Which the intense eyes looked through) came


came next.

at eve


Not overmuch their way, I must confess.
Such a to-do! They tried me with their books;
Lord, they'd have taught me Latin in pure waste !
Flower o' the clove,
All the Latin I construe is amo," I love !
But, mind you, when a boy starves in the streets
Eight years together, as my fortune was,
Watching folk's faces to know who will fling
The bit of half-stripped grape-bunch he desires,
And who will curse or kick him for his pains,
Which gentleman processional and fine,
Holding a candle to the Sacrament,
Will wink and let him lift a plate and catch
The droppings of the wax to sell again,
Or holla for the Eight and have him whipped,
How say I?

nay, which dog bites, which lets drop His bone from the heap of offal in the street,

On tiptoe, said a word, dropped in a loaf, 160 Her pair of earrings and a bunch of flowers (The brute took growling), prayed, and so was

gone. I painted all, then cried “'Tis ask and have; Choose, for more's ready!” — laid the ladder

flat, And showed my covered bit of cloister-wall. The monks closed in a circle and praised loud Till checked, taught what to see and not to see, Being simple bodies, “That's the very man! Look at the boy who stoops to pat the dog! That woman's like the Prior's niece who comes To care about his asthma: it's the life!”

171 But there my triumph's straw-fire flared and

funked; Their betters took their turn to see and say:

I 20

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