« AnteriorContinuar »
NEW YEAR'S DAY AT ASOLO IN THE TREVISAN.-A large, mean, airy chamber. A girl, PIPPA, from the silk-mills, springing out of bed.
Faster and more fast,
O'er night's brim, day boils at last;
Boils, pure gold, o'er the cloud-cup's brim
Where spurting and supprest it lay-
For not a froth-flake touched the rim
Of yonder gap in the solid gray
Of the eastern cloud, an hour away;
But forth one wavelet, then another, curled,
Till the whole sunrise, not to be supprest,
Rose, reddened, and its seething breast
Flickered in bounds, grew gold, then overflowed the
Oh, Day, if I squander a wavelet of thee,
A mite of my twelve hours' treasure,
The least of thy gazes or glances,
(Be they grants thou art bound to, or gifts above measure) One of thy choices, or one of thy chances,
(Be they tasks God imposed thee, or freaks at thy
-My Day, if I squander such labour or leisure,
Then shame fall on Asolo, mischief on me!
Thy long blue solemn hours serenely flowing,
Whence earth, we feel, gets steady help and good-
Thy fitful sunshine minutes, coming, going,
In which, earth turns from work in gamesome mood
All shall be mine! But thou must treat me not
As the prosperous are treated, those who live
At hand here, and enjoy the higher lot,
In readiness to take what thou wilt give,
And free to let alone what thou refusest;
For, Day, my holiday, if thou ill-usest
Me, who am only Pippa-old-year's sorrow,
Cast off last night, will come again to-morrow→→→
Whereas, if thou prove gentle, I shall borrow
Sufficient strength of thee for new-year's sorrow.
All other men and women that this earth
Belongs to, who all days alike possess,
Make general plenty cure particular dearth,
Get more joy, one way, if another, less:
Thou art my single day, God lends to leaven
What were all earth else, with a feel of heaven;
Sole light that helps me through the year, thy sun's!
Try, now! Take Asolo's Four Happiest Ones
And let thy morning rain on that superb
Great haughty Ottima; can rain disturb
Her Sebald's homage? All the while thy rain
Beats fiercest on her shrub-house window-pane,
He will but press the closer, breathe more warm
Against her cheek; how should she mind the storm?
And, morning past, if mid-day shed a gloom
O'er Jules and Phene,-what care bride and groom
Save for their dear selves? "Tis their marriage-day;
And while they leave church, and go home their way
Hand clasping hand,-within each breast would be
Sunbeams and pleasant weather spite of thee!
Then, for another trial, obscure thy eve
With mist,—will Luigi and his mother grieve-
The Lady and her child, unmatched, forsooth,
She in her age, as Luigi in his youth,
For true content? The cheerful town, warm, close,
And safe, the sooner that thou art morose
Receives them! And yet once again, outbreak
In storm at night on Monsignor, they make
Such stir about,-whom they expect from Rome
To visit Asolo, his brothers' home,
And say here masses proper to release
A soul from pain,-what storm dares hurt his peace?
Calm would he pray, with his own thoughts to ward
Thy thunder off, nor want the angels' guard!
But Pippa-just one such mischance would spoil
Her day that lightens the next twelvemonth's toil
At wearisome silk-winding, coil on coil!
And here I let time slip for nought!
Aha, you foolhardy sunbeam-caught
With a single splash from my ewer!
You that would mock the best pursuer,
Was my basin overdeep?
One splash of water ruins you asleep,
And up, up, fleet your brilliant bits
Wheeling and counterwheeling,
Reeling, broken beyond healing-
Now grow together on the ceiling!
That will task your wits!
Whoever quenched fire first, hoped to see
Morsel after morsel flee
As merrily, as giddily...
Meantime, what lights my sunbeam on,
Where settles by degrees the radiant cripple?
Oh, is it surely blown, my martagon?
New-blown and ruddy as St. Agnes' nipple,
Plump as the flesh-bunch on some Turk bird's poll!
Be sure if corals, branching 'neath the ripple
Of ocean, bud there,-fairies watch unroll
Such turban-flowers; I say, such lamps disperse
Thick red flame through that dusk green universe!
I am queen of thee, floweret;
And each fleshy blossom
Preserve I not-(safer
Than leaves that embower it,
Or shells that embosom)
-From weevil and chafer?
Laugh through my pane, then; solicit the bee;
Gibe him, be sure; and, in midst of thy glee,
Love thy queen, worship me!
-Worship whom else? For am I not, this day,
Whate'er I please? What shall I please to-day?
My morning, noon, eve, night-how spend my day?
To-morrow I must be Pippa who winds silk,
The whole year round, to earn just bread and milk:
But, this one day, I have leave to go,
And play out my fancy's fullest games;
I may fancy all day-and it shall be so
That I taste of the pleasures, am called by the names
Of the Happiest Four in our Asolo!
See! Up the Hill-side yonder, through the morning,
Some one shall love me, as the world calls love:
I am no less than Ottima, take warning!
The gardens, and the great stone house above,
And other house for shrubs, all glass in front,
Are mine; where Sebald steals, as he is wont,
To court me, while old Luca yet reposes;
And therefore, till the shrub-house door uncloses,
I... what, now ?-give abundant cause for prate
About me-Ottima, I mean-of late,
Too bold, too confident she'll still face down
The spitefullest of talkers in our town-
How we talk in the little town below!
But love, love, love-there's better love, I know!