Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

Show in their triple lobe
Virgin and Child, that hold

Their globe,
Cross-crowned and aureoled.

-All things return to dust
Save beauties fashioned well.

The bust
Outlasts the citadel.

Oft doth the plowman's heel,
Breaking an ancient clod,

Reveal
A Cæsar or a god.

The gods, too, die, alas!
But deathless and more strong

Than brass
Remains the sovereign song.

Chisel and carve and file,
Till thy vague dream imprint

Its smile
On the unyielding flint.

Théophile Gautier

166

LOST DAYS

THE

'HE lost days of my life until to-day,

What were they, could I see them on the street
Lie as they fell? Would they be ears of wheat
Sown once for food but trodden into clay?
Or golden coins squandered and still to pay?

Or drops of blood dabbling the guilty feet?
Or such spilt water as in dreams must cheat
The undying throats of Hell, athirst alway?
I do not see them here; but after death
God knows I know the faces I shall see,
Each one a murdered self, with low last breath.
“I am thyself,—what hast thou done to me?”
"And I—and 1-thyself” (lo! each one saith),
"And thou thyself to all eternity!”

[ocr errors]

Dante Gabriel Rossetti

167

THE PRODIGALSI

"PRINCE

RINCES!—and you, most valorous,

Nobles and Barons of all degrees!
Hearken awhile to the

prayer

of

us,
Beggars that come from the over-seas!

Nothing we ask or of gold or fees;
Harry us not with the hounds, we pray;

Lo,—for the surcote's hem we seize,-
Give us--ah! give us—but Yesterday!”

“Dames most delicate, amorous!

Damosels blithe as the belted bees!
Hearken awhile to the

prayer

of

us,
Beggars that come from the over-seas!

Nothing we ask of the things that please;
Weary are we, and worn, and gray;

Lo,—for we clutch and we clap your knees,—
Give us--ah! give us—but Yesterday!”

1 Reprinted through special arrangement with Mr. Alban Dobson and with the Oxford University Press.

“Damosels—Dames, be piteous!”

(But the dames rode fast by the roadway trees.) “Hear us, O Knights magnanimous!”

(But the knights pricked on in their panoplies.)

Nothing they gat or of hope or ease,
But only to beat on the breast and say:-

“Life we drank to the dregs and lees;
Give us—ah! give us—but Yesterday!”

ENVOY

Youth, take heed to the prayer of these!
Many there be by the dusty way,

Many that cry to the rocks and seas:-
“Give us—ah! give us—but Yesterday!”

Austin Dobson

[blocks in formation]

DA

AUGHTERS of Time, the hypocritic Days,

Muffled and dumb like barefoot dervishes,
And marching single in an endless file,
Bring diadems and fagots in their hands.
To each they offer gifts after his will,
Bread, kingdoms, stars, and sky that holds them all.
1, in my pleached garden, watched the pomp,
Forgot my morning wishes, hastily
Took a few herbs and apples, and the Day
Turned and departed silent. I, too late,
Under her solemn fillet saw the scorn.

Ralph Waldo Emerson 169

TO MR. LAWRENCE

LAW

AWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son,

Now that the fields are dank and ways are mire,

Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what'may be won
From the hard season gaining? Time will run

On smoother, till Favonius reinspire

The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,

Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice

Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?

He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

John Milton

170

[ocr errors]

YRIACK, whose grandsire, on the royal bench

Of British Themis, with no mean applause

Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws,
Which others at their bar so often wrench;
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench

In mirth, that after no repenting draws;

Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intend, and what the French.
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know
Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;

For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,
And disapproves that care, though wise in show,
That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.

John Milton

a

171

FANCY

E

VER let the Fancy roam!

Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind's cage-door,
Sheʼll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming:
Autumn's red-lipped fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting: What do then?
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear fagot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled
From the plowboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
-Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overawed,
Fancy, high-commissioned:-send her!
She has vassals to attend her;
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather;

« ÎnapoiContinuă »