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This foolish love was only day's first offer
I choose my next love to defy the scoffer:
For do not our Bride and Bridegroom sally
Out of Possagno church at noon ?

Their house looks over Orcana valley-
Why should I not be the bride as soon
As Ottima? For I saw, beside,

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Arrive last night that little bride

Saw, if you call it seeing her, one flash

Of the pale, snow-pure cheek and black bright tresses, Blacker than all except the black eyelash;

I wonder she contrives those lids no dresses!

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-So strict was she, the veil

Should cover close her pale

Pure cheeks-a bride to look at and scarce touch,
Scarce touch, remember, Jules !—for are not such
Used to be tended, flower-like, every feature,
As if one's breath would fray the lily of a creature?
A soft and easy life these ladies lead!
Whiteness in us were wonderful indeed-

Oh, save that brow its virgin dimness,
Keep that foot its lady primness,
Let those ankles never swerve

From their exquisite reserve,

Yet have to trip along the streets like me,
All but naked to the knee !

How will she ever grant her Jules a bliss
So startling as her real first infant kiss?
Oh, no-not envy, this!

-Not envy, sure!-for if you gave me

Leave to take or to refuse,

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In earnest, do you think I'd choose

That sort of new love to enslave me?

Mine should have lapped me round from the beginning;

As little fear of losing it as winning!

Lovers grow cold, men learn to hate their wives,

And only parents' love can last our lives:
At eve the son and mother, gentle pair,
Commune inside our Turret; what prevents
My being Luigi? while that mossy lair
Of lizards through the winter-time, is stirred
With each to each imparting sweet intents
For this new-year, as brooding bird to bird—
(For I observe of late, the evening walk
Of Luigi and his mother, always ends.
Inside our ruined turret, where they talk,
Calmer than lovers, yet more kind than friends)
Let me be cared about, kept out of harm,
And schemed for, safe in love as with a charm ;
Let me be Luigi!... If I only knew
What was my mother's face-my father, too!

Nay, if you come to that, best love of all
Is God's; then why not have God's love befall
Myself as, in the Palace by the Dome,
Monsignor ?—who to-night will bless the home
Of his dead brother; and God will bless in turn
That heart which beats, those eyes which mildly burn

With love for all men: I, to-night at least,
Would be that holy and beloved priest!

Now wait!-even I already seem to share
In God's love: what does New-year's hymn declare?
What other meaning do these verses bear?

All service ranks the same with God:
If now, as formerly He trod
Paradise, His presence fills
Our earth, each only as God wills
Can work-God's puppets, best and worst,
Are we; there is no last nor first.

Say not " α small event! " Why "small?
Costs it more pain than this, ye call
A "great event," should come to pass,
Than that? Untwine me from the mass
Of deeds which make up life, one deed
Power shall fall short in, or exceed !

And more of it and more of it!-oh, yes-
I will pass by, and see their happiness,
And envy none-being just as great, no doubt,
Useful to men, and dear to God, as they!
A pretty thing to care about

So mightily, this single holiday!

But let the sun shine! Wherefore repine?
-With thee to lead me, O Day of mine,

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Down the grass-path gray with dew,

Under the pine-wood, blind with boughs,
Where the swallow never flew

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As yet, nor cicale dared carouse—
Dared carouse !

[She enters the street.

I-MORNING. Up the Hill-side, inside the Shrub-house. Luca's Wife, OTTIMA, and her Paramour, the German SEBALD.

Seb. (sings.) Let the watching lids wink!

Day's a-blaze with eyes, think-
Deep into the night, drink!

Otti. Night? Such may be your Rhine-land nights, perhaps ;

But this blood-red beam through the shutter's chink,
-We call such light, the morning's: let us see!
Mind how you grope your way, though! How these tall
Naked geraniums straggle! Push the lattice-
Behind that frame!-Nay, do I bid you?-Sebald,
It shakes the dust down on me! Why, of course
The slide-bolt catches.-Well, are you content,
Or must I find you something else to spoil?
Kiss and be friends, my Sebald! Is it full morning?
Oh, don't speak then!

Ay, thus it used to be!
Ever your house was, I remember, shut
Till mid-day-I observed that, as I strolled
On mornings thro' the vale here: country girls
Were noisy, washing garments in the brook-
Hinds drove the slow white oxen up the hills-

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But no, your house was mute, would ope no eye-
And wisely-you were plotting one thing there,
Nature, another outside: I looked up-
Rough white wood shutters, rusty iron bars,
Silent as death, blind in a flood of light;
Oh, I remember!—and the peasants laughed
And said, "The old man sleeps with the young wife!"
This house was his, this chair, this window-his!

Otti. Ah, the clear morning! I can see St. Mark's:
That black streak is the belfry. Stop: Vicenza
Should lie . . . There's Padua, plain enough, that blue!
Look o'er my shoulder-follow my finger-



It seems to me a night with the sun added:

Where's dew? where's freshness? That bruised plant, I bruised

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In getting thro' the lattice yestereve,

Droops as it did. See, here's my elbow's mark

In the dust on the sill.


Seb. Let me lean out. Foul as the morn may be

Oh shut the lattice, pray!
I cannot scent blood here,

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There, shut the world out!

Let us throw off

How do you feel now, Ottima?

The world, and all outside!

This mask: how do you bear yourself? Let's out

With all of it!


Best never speak of it.

Seb. Best speak again and yet again of it,

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