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She would turn a new side to her mortal,
Yet a semblance of resource avails us —
Blank to Zoroaster on his terrace,
Love, you saw me gather men and women,
What were seen? None knows, none ever shall know.
180 Only this is sure the sight were other, Not the moon's same side, born late in Florence, Dying now impoverished here in London. God be thanked, the meanest of his creatures Boasts two soul-sides, one to face the world
with, One to show a woman when he loves her!
Not but that you know me! Lo, the moon's
self! Here in London, yonder late in Florence, Still we find her face, the thrice-transfigured. Curving on a sky imbrued with colour, Drifted over Fiesole by twilight, Came she, our new crescent of a hair's-breadth. Full she flared it, lamping Samminiato, 150 Rounder 'twixt the cypresses and rounder, Perfect till the nightingales applauded. Now, a piece of her old self, impoverished, Hard to greet, she traverses the house-roofs, Hurries with unhandsome thrift of silver, Goes dispiritedly, glad to finish.
This I say of me, but think of you, Love!
What, there's nothing in the moon noteworthy?
Oh, their Rafael of the dear Madonnas,
- R. B.
In sight? Not half! for it seemed, it was cer
tain, to match man's birth, AFTER HE HAS BEEN EXTEMPORISING
Nature in turn conceived, obeying an impulse UPON THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT OF
as I; HIS INVENTION
And the emulous heaven yearned down, made
effort to reach the earth, Would that the structure brave, the manifold As the earth had done her best, in my passion, music I build,
to scale the sky: Bidding my organ obey, calling its keys to Novel splendours burst forth, grew familiar and their work,
dwelt with mine, Claiming each slave of the sound, at a touch, as Not a point nor peak but found and fixed its when Solomon willed
wandering star; Armies of angels that soar, legions of demons Meteor-moons, balls of blaze: and they did not that lurk,
pale nor pine, Man, brute, reptile, fly, alien of end and of For earth had attained to heaven, there was aim,
no more near nor far.
32 Adverse, each from the other heaven-high, hell-deep removed,
Nay more; for there wanted not who walked Should rush into sight at once as he named the in the glare and glow, ineffable Name,
Presences plain in the place; or, fresh from And pile him a palace straight, to pleasure the Protoplast, the princess he loved !
8 Furnished for ages to come, when a kindlier
wind should blow, Would it might tarry like his, the beautiful Lured now to begin and live, in a house to building of mine,
their liking at last; This which my keys in a crowd pressed and Or else the wonderful Dead who have passed importuned to raise !
through the body and gone, Ah, one and all, how they helped, would dispart But were back once more to breathe in an old now and now combine,
world worth their new: Zealous to hasten the work, heighten their What never had been, was now; what was, as master his praise !
it shall be anon; And one would bury his brow with a blind plunge And what is, — shall I say, matched both? for down to hell,
I was made perfect too. Burrow awhile and build, broad on the roots of things,
All through my keys that gave their sounds to Then up again swim into sight, having based a wish of my soul, me my palace well,
All through my soul that praised as its wish Founded it, fearless of flame, flat on the nether flowed visibly forth, springs.
16 . All through music and me! For think, had I
painted the whole, And another would mount and march, like the Why, there it had stood, to see, nor the proexcellent minion he was,
cess so wonder-worth: Ay, another and yet another, one crowd but Had I written the same, made verse — still, with many a crest,
effect proceeds from cause, Raising my rampired walls of gold as transpar- Ye know why the forms are fair, ye hear how ent as glass,
the tale is told; Eager to do and die, yield eachi his place to It is all triumphant art, but art in obedience to laws, the rest :
Painter and poet are proud in the artist-list For higher still and higher (as a runner tips enrolled:
with fire, When a great illumination surprises a festal But here is the finger of God, a flash of the will
night Outlined round and round Rome's dome from Existent behind all laws, that made them space to spire)
and, lo, they are ! Up, the pinnacled glory reached, and the And I know not if, save in this, such gift be pride of my soul was in sight.
allowed to man,
That out of three sounds he frame, not a
fourth sound, but a star. Consider it well: each tone of our scale in itself
is naught: It is everywhere in the world — loud, soft,
and all is said: Give it to me to use! I mix it with two in my
thought: And there! Ye have heard and seen: consider and bow the head!
56 Well, it is gone at last, the palace of music I
reared; Gone! and the good tears start, the praises
that come too slow; For one is assured at first, one scarce can say
that he feared, That he even gave it a thought, the gone thing
was to go. Never to be again! But many more of the
kind As good, nay, better perchance: is this your
comfort to me? To me, who must be saved because I cling with
To the same, same self, same love, same God: ay, what was, shall be.
Well, it is earth with me; silence resumes her
reign: I will be patient and proud, and soberly ac
quiesce. Give me the keys. I feel for the common chord
again, Sliding by semitones till I sink to the minor,
yes, And I blunt it into a ninth, and I stand on alien
ground, Surveying awhile the heights I rolled from
into the deep; Which, hark, I have dared and done, for my
resting-place is found, The C Major of this life: so, now I will try to sleep.
RABBI BEN EZRA
Therefore to whom turn I but to thee, the inef
fable Name? Builder and maker, thou, of houses not made
with hands! What, have fear of change from thee who art
ever the same? Doubt that thy power can fill the heart that
thy power expands? There shall never be one lost good! What was,
shall live as before; The evil is null, is naught, is silence implying
sound; What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so
much good more; On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven a perfect round.
72 All we have willed or hoped or dreamed of good
shall exist; Not its semblance, but itself; no beauty, nor
good, nor power Whose voice has gone forth, but each survives
for the melodist When eternity affirms the conception of an
hour. The high that proved too high, the heroic for
earth too hard, The passion that left the ground to lose itself
in the sky,
Not for such hopes and fears
I, who saw
love perfect Annulling youth's brief years,
too: Do I remonstrate : folly wide the mark !
Perfect I call thy plan: Rather I prize the doubt
Thanks that I was a man! Low kinds exist without,
17 Maker, remake, complete, - I trust what thou Finished and finite clods, untroubled by a spark. I shalt do"? Poor vaunt of life indeed,
For pleasant is this flesh; Were man but formed to feed
Our soul, in its rose-mesh On joy, to solely seek and find and feast:
Pulled ever to the earth, still yearns for rest : Such feasting ended, then
Would we some prize might hold
To match those manifold
we maw-crammed beast?
66 Rejoice we are allied
Let us not always say, To that which doth provide
“Spite of this flesh to-day And not partake, effect and not receive!
I strove, made head, gained ground upon the A spark disturbs our clod;
whole !” Nearer we hold of God
As the bird wings and sings, Who gives, than of his tribes that take, I must Let us cry, “All good things believe.
Are ours, nor soul helps flesh more, now, than
Therefore I summon age Each sting that bids nor sit nor stand but go! To grant youth's heritage, Be our joys three-parts pain !
Life's struggle having so far reached its term: Strive, and hold cheap the strain;
Thence shall I pass, approved Learn, nor account the pang; dare, never grudge A man, for aye removed the throe! 36 From the developed brute; a god, though in
78 For thence,
a paradox Which comforts while it mocks,
And I shall thereupon Shall life succeed in that it seems to fail:
Take rest, ere I be gone What I aspired to be,
Once more on my adventure brave and new: And was not, comforts me:
Fearless and unperplexed, A brute I might have been, but would not sink When I wage battle next, i' the scale.
What weapons to select, what armour to indue. 84 What is he but a brute
Youth ended, I shall try Whose flesh has soul to suit,
My gain or loss thereby; Whose spirit works lest arms and legs want Leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold: play?
And I shall weigh the same, To man, propose this test
Give life its praise or blame: Thy body at its best,
Young, all lay in dispute; I shall know, being How far can that project thy soul on its lone old.
For note, when evening shuts, Yet gifts should prove their use:
A certain moment cuts I own the Past profuse
The deed off, calls the glory from the grey: Of power each side, perfection every turn:
A whisper from the west Eyes, ears took in their dole,
Shoots -“Add this to the rest, Brain treasured up the whole;
Take it and try its worth: here dies another Should not the heart beat once “How good to day." live and learn”?
So, still within this life, Not once beat "Praise be thine !
Though lifted o'er its strife, I see the whole design,
Let me discern, compare, pronounce at last,
For more is not reserved
made: So, better, age, exempt From strife, should know, than tempt Further. Thou waitedst age: wait death nor be afraid !
All instincts immature,
150 Ay, note that Potter's wheel, That metaphor! and feel Why time spins fast, why passive lies our clay, Thou, to whom fools propound, When the wine makes its round, "Since life fleets, all is change; the Past gone, seize to-day!”
Enough now, if the Right
Fool! All that is, at all,
Be there, for once and all,
He fixed thee 'mid this dance
173 Grow out, in graver mood, obey the sterner stress?
peace at last!
Now, who shall arbitrate ?
Not on the vulgar mass
But I need, now as then,
But all, the world's coarse thumb