Imágenes de páginas

And all for yielding with a lively spirit
A poor existence-parting with a youth.
Like theirs who squander every energy
Convertible to good, on painted toys,

Breath-bubbles, gilded dust! And though I spurn
All adventitious aims, from empty praise

To love's award, yet whoso deems such helps
Important, and concerns himself for me,

May know even these will follow with the rest-
As in the steady rolling Mayne, asleep
Yonder, is mixed its mass of schistous ore.
My own affections, laid to rest awhile,
Will waken purified, subdued alone

By all I have achieved; till then-till then ..
Ah! the time-wiling loitering of a page

Through bower and over lawn, till eve shall bring
The stately lady's presence whom he loves—
The broken sleep of the fisher whose rough coat
Enwraps the queenly pearl-these are faint types!
See how they look on me-I triumph now!
But one thing, Festus, Michal!—I have told
All I shall e'er disclose to mortal: say-
Do you believe I shall accomplish this?
Fest. I do believe!


I ever did believe!

Par. Those words shall never fade from out my brain

This earnest of the end shall never fade!

Are there not, Festus, are there not, dear Michal,

Two points in the adventure of the diver:

One-when, a beggar, he prepares to plunge?
One-when, a prince, he rises with his pearl?
Festus, I plunge!


I wait you when you rise!


SCENE.-Constantinople." The House of the Greek-conjuror."



Over the waters in the vaporous west
The sun goes down as in a sphere of gold,
Behind the outstretched city, which between,
With all that length of domes and minarets,
Athwart the splendour, black and crooked runs
Like a Turk verse along a scimetar.

There lie, thou saddest writing, and awhile
Relieve my aching sight. 'Tis done at last!
Strange and the juggles of a sallow cheat
Could win me to this act! 'Tis as yon cloud
Should voyage unwreck'd o'er many a mountain-top
And break upon a molehill. I have dared
Come to a pause with knowledge; scan for once
The heights already reach'd, without regard
To the extent above; fairly compute
What I have clearly gained; for once excluding

My future which should finish and fulfil

All half-gains, and conjectures, and mere hopes--
And this, because a fortune-teller bids

His credulous inquirers write thus much,
Their previous life's attainment, in his book,
Before his promised secret, as he vaunts,
Make that life perfect: here, accordingly,
'Mid the uncouth recordings of such dupes,
-Scrawled in like fashion, lie my life's results!

These few blurred characters suffice to note
A stranger wandered long through many lands,
And reaped the fruit he coveted in a few
Discoveries, as appended here and there,
The fragmentary produce of much toil,
In a dim heap, fact and surmise together
Confusedly massed, as when acquired; himself
Too bent on gaining more to calmly stay
And scrutinize the little which he gained:
Slipt in the blank space 'twixt an idiot's gibber
And a mad lover's ditty-lies the whole!

And yet those blottings chronicle a life—

A whole life,-mine! No thought to turn to act,
No problem for the fancy, but a life
Spent and decided, wasted past recall,

Or worthy beyond peer. Stay, turn the page
And take its chance, thus: what, concerning "life"
Does this remembrancer set down?" We say
“Time fleets, youth fades, life is an empty dream.'

'Tis the mere echo of time; and he whose heart
"Beats first beneath a human heart, whose speech
"Was copied from a human tongue, can never
"Recall when he was living yet knew not this.
"Nevertheless long seasons come and go,

"Till some one hour's experience shows what nought,
He deemed, could clearer show; and ever after
"An altered brow, and eye, and gait, and speech
"Attest that now he knows the adage true
"Time fleets, youth fades, life is an empty dream.'

Ay, my brave chronicler, and this same time
As well as any: let my hour speak now!

Now! I can go no further; well or ill

'Tis done. I must desist and take my chance;

I cannot keep on the stretch; 'tis no back-shrinkingFor let the least assurance dawn, some end

To my toil seem possible, and I proceed


any price, by any sacrifice :

Else, here I pause: the old Greek's prophecy
Is like to turn out true-" I shall not quit
"His chamber till I know what I desire!"
Was it the light wind sung it, o'er the sea?

An end, a rest! strange how the notion, once
Admitted, gains strength every moment! Rest!
Where kept that thought so long? this throbbing brow
To cease-this beating heart to cease-its crowd

[blocks in formation]

Of gnawing thoughts to cease!-To dare let down
My strung, so high-strung brain--to dare unnerve
My harassed o'ertasked frame-to know my place
-My portion, my reward, my failure even,
Assigned, made sure forever!-To lose myself
Among the common creatures of the world-
To draw some gain from having been a man-
Neither to hope nor fear-to live at length!
Oh, were it but in failure, to have rest!
What, sunk insensibly so deep? Has all
Been undergone for this? Was this the prayer
My labour qualified me to present
With no fear of refusal? Had I gone

Carelessly through my task, and so judged fit
To moderate my hopes; nay, were it now
My sole concern to exculpate myself,
And lessen punishment,—I could not choose
An humbler mood to wait for the decree !
No, no, there needs not this; no, after all,
At worst I have performed my share of the task '
The rest is God's concern-mine, merely this,
To know that I have obstinately held

By my own work. The mortal whose brave foot
Has trod, unscathed, the temple-courts so far
That he descries at length the shrine of shrines,
Must let no sneering of the demons' eyes,
Whose wrath he met unquailing, follow sly
And fasten on him, fairly past their power,
If where he stands he dares but stay; no, no→

« AnteriorContinuar »