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Image the whole, then execute the parts —
70 Quite, ere you build, ere steel strike fire from
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
Properly based Oun -
Dead from the waist down.
Hail to your purlieus,
Swallows and curlews!
Live, for they can, there:
140 Here - here's his place, where meteors shoot,
Lightnings are loosened, Stars come and go! Let joy break with the
Peace let the dew send !
Living and dying.
(Here's the town-gate reached : there's the
Gaping before us.)
(Hearten our chorus !)
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
Man has Forever." Back to his book then: deeper drooped his
Calculus racked him:
Tussis attacked him.
Not a whit troubled,
Fierce as a dragon
Sucked at the flagon.
Heedless of far gain,
Bad is our bargain!
(He loves the burthen)
Perfect the earthen?
Just what it all meant ?
Paid by instalment.
Found, or earth's failure: “Wilt thou trust death or not?" He answered
Hence with life's pale lure!”
Sees it and does it:
Dies ere he knows it.
His hundred's soon hit:
“ CHILDE ROLAND TO THE DARK
(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
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,
“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!
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,
right, Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in
fight; While to the left, a tall scalped mountain ..
What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
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,
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
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
FRA LIPPO LIPPI
I am poor brother Lippo, by your leave !
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,
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!
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,
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
Not overmuch their way, I must confess.
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: