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The high that proved too high, the heroic for earth too hard,
The passion that left the ground to lose itself in the sky,
Are music sent up to God by the lover and the bard;
Enough that he heard it once: we shall hear it by-and-by.

And what is our failure here but a triumph's evidence


For the fullness of the days? Have we withered or agonized? Why else was the pause prolonged but that singing might issue thence?

Why rushed the discords in, but that harmony should be


Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to clear,


Each sufferer says his say, his scheme of the weal and woe : But God has a few of us whom he whispers in the ear;

The rest may reason and welcome; 'tis we musicians know.


Well, it is earth with me; silence resumes her reign :
I will be patient and proud, and soberly acquiesce.
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 a while the heights I rolled from into the deep;
Which, hark, I have dared and done, for my resting-place is


The C Major of this life: so, now I will try to sleep.

The Lost Leader.


The Lost Leader was originally written in reference to Wordsworth's abandonment of the Liberal cause, with perhaps a thought of Southey, but it is applicable to any popular apostasy. This is one of those songs that do the work of swords. It shows how easily Mr. Browning, had he so chosen, could have stirred the national feeling with his lyrics.

JUST for a handful of silver he left us,

Just for a riband to stick in his coat

Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,

Lest all the others, she lets us devote;

They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,
So much was theirs who so little allowed:
How all our copper had gone for his service!
Rags were they purple, his heart had been proud!


We that had loved him so, followed him, honored him,
Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,

Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,
Made him our pattern to live and to die!
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,


Burns, Shelley, were with us, they watch from their


He alone breaks from the van and the freemen,

He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves !

We shall march prospering,--not through his presence;
Songs may inspirit us,-not from his lyre;
Deeds will be done,-while he boasts his quiescence,

Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire :
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,
One task more declined, one more footpath untrod,
One more devils'-triumph and sorrow for angels,



One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!
Life's night begins: let him never come back to us! 25
There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,

Forced praise on our part-the glimmer of twilight,
Never glad confident morning again!

Best fight on well, for we taught him--strike gallantly,
Menace our heart ere we master his own;


Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,

Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!

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Andrea del Sarto is a "translation into song" of the picture called "Andrea del Sarto and his Wife," now in the Pitti Palace, Florence. It is a perfect re-creation of the Andrea described by Vasari, whose story is one of the saddest in the records of art. The story is well known: how the painter, who at one time seemed as if he might have competed with Raphael, was ruined, as artist and as man, by his beautiful soulless wife, the fatal Lucrezia del Fede; and bow, led and lured by her, he outraged his conscience, lowered his ideal, and, losing all heart and hope, sank into the cold correctness, the unerring fluency, the uniform, melancholy repetition of a single type-his wife's-which distinguish his later works. Mr. Browning has taken his facts from Vasari, and he has taken them quite literally. But what a change, what a transformation and transfiguration ! No more absolutely creative work has been done in our days; few more beautiful and pathetic poems written. The mood of sad, wistful, hopeless mournfulness of resignation which the poem expresses is a somewhat rare one with Mr. Browning's vivid and vivacious genius. It is an autumn twilight piece. The very movement of the lines, their very tone and touch, contribute to the effect. A single clear impression is made to result from an infinity of the minutest and scarcely appreciable touches; how fine these touches are, how clear the impression, can only be hinted at in words, can be realized only by a loving and scrupulous study.

BUT do not let us quarrel any more,

No, my Lucrezia! bear with me for once:
Sit down and all shall happen as you wish.

You turn your face, but does it bring your heart?

I'll work then for your friend's friend, never fear,


Treat his own subject after his own way,
Fix his own time, accept too his own price,
And shut the money into this small hand
When next it takes mine. Will it tenderly?
Oh, I'll content him,-but to-morrow, Love!

I often am much wearier than you think,
This evening more than usual: and it seems
As if-forgive now-should you let me sit
Here by the window, with your hand in mine,
And look a half hour forth on Fiesole,



15. Fiesole [fes'o-le].-The ancient Fasula, a town 3 miles N. E. of Florence, on a steep hill, commanding a magnificent view of the Arno valley.

Both of one mind, as married people use,
Quietly, quietly the evening through,
I might get up to-morrow to my work
Cheerful and fresh as ever. Let us try.
To-morrow, how you shall be glad for this!
Your soft hand is a woman of itself,

And mine, the man's bared breast she curls inside.


Don't count the time lost, neither; you must serve
For each of the five pictures we require:
It saves a model. So! keep looking so—
My serpentining beauty, rounds on rounds!


-How could you ever prick those perfect ears,
Even to put the pearl there! oh, so sweet-
My face, my moon, my everybody's moon,
Which everybody looks on and calls his,
And, I suppose, is looked on by in turn,


While she looks-no one's very dear, no less.

You smile? why, there's my picture ready made,

There's what we painters call our harmony!

A common grayness silvers every thing,


All in a twilight, you and I alike

-You, at the point of your first pride in me

(That's gone, you know)—but I, at every point;

My youth, my hope, my art, being all toned down

To yonder sober pleasant Fiesole.


There's the bell clinking from the chapel-top;

That length of convent-wall across the way

Holds the trees safer, huddled more inside;

The last monk leaves the garden; days decrease,

And autumn grows, autumn in every thing.


Eh? the whole seems to fall into a shape,

As if I saw alike my work and self

And all that I was born to be and do,

A twilight-piece. Love, we are in God's hand.

16. As married people use, i.e., ought, or are wont to be.

How strange now looks the life he makes us lead;
So free we seem, so fettered fast we are!
I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie!

This chamber, for example-turn your head—
All that's behind us! You don't understand
Nor care to understand about my art,



But you can hear at least when people speak :
And that cartoon, the second from the door

-It is the thing, Love! so such things should be:
Behold Madonna !-I am bold to say.

I can do with my pencil what I know,


What I see, what at bottom of my heart

I wish for, if I ever wish so deep

Do easily, too-when I say, perfectly.

I do not boast, perhaps yourself are judge,
Who listened to the Legate's talk last week;


And just as much they used to say in France.
At any rate 'tis easy, all of it!

No sketches first, no studies, that's long past:
I do what many dream of, all their lives,
-Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,


And fail in doing. I could count twenty such
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
Who strive-you don't know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,—
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter)—
-so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them,


66.-Andrea del Sarto was summoned to the court of Francis I. of France, where his painting was highly honored and handsomely remunerated. Urged by the letters from his wife, he obtained permission of the king to revisit Florence, on condition of a speedy return to his work; but he broke his pledges, and with a sum of money with which his royal patron had intrusted him for the purchase of works of art, built the "melancholy little house" (1, 212), to please the soulless Lucrezia,

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