Imágenes de páginas

Thou and the child have each a veil alike
Thrown o'er your heads, from under which ye
Stretch your blind hands and trifle with a match
Over a mine of Greek fire, did ye know!
He holds on firmly to some thread of life
(It is the life to lead perforcedly)
Which runs across some vast distracting orb
Of glory on either side that meagre thread,
Which, conscious of, he must not enter yet
The spiritual life around the earthly life:
The law of that is known to him as this,
His heart and brain move there, his feet stay here,
So is the man perplext with impulses

Sudden to start off crosswise, not straight on,
Proclaiming what is right and wrong across,

And not along, this black thread through the blaze —
"It should be" balked by "here it cannot be."
And oft the man's soul springs into his face
As if he saw again and heard again

His sage that bade him "Rise " and he did rise.
Something, a word, a tick o' the blood within
Admonishes: then back he sinks at once
To ashes, who was very fire before,
In sedulous recurrence to his trade
Whereby he earneth him the daily bread;
And studiously the humbler for that pride,
Professedly the faultier that he knows

God's secret, while he holds the thread of life.
Indeed the especial marking of the man
Is prone submission to the heavenly will
Seeing it, what it is, and why it is.
'Sayeth, he will wait patient to the last

[ocr errors]

For that same death which must restore his being
To equilibrium, body loosening soul

Divorced even now by premature full growth:
He will live, nay, it pleaseth him to live

So long as God please, and just how God please.
He even seeketh not to please God more

(Which meaneth, otherwise) than as God please.
Hence, I perceive not he affects to preach
The doctrine of his sect whate'er it be,
Make proselytes as madmen thirst to do:
How can he give his neighbor the real ground,
His own conviction? Ardent as he is
Call his great truth a lie, why, still the old
"Be it as God please" reassureth him..

I probed the sore as thy disciple should:
"How, beast," said I, "this stolid carelessness
Sufficeth thee, when Rome is on her march
To stamp out like a little spark thy town,
Thy tribe, thy crazy tale and thee at once?"
He merely looked with his large eyes on me.
The man is apathetic, you deduce?
Contrariwise, he loves both old and

Able and weak, affects the very brutes
And birds - how say I? flowers of the field
As a wise workman recognizes tools

In a master's workshop, loving what they make.
Thus is the man as harmless as a lamb:
Only impatient, let him do his best,
At ignorance and carelessness and sin
An indignation which is promptly curbed:
As when in certain travel I have feigned
To be an ignoramus in our art

According to some preconceived design,
And happed to hear the land's practitioners
Steeped in conceit sublimed by ignorance,
Prattle fantastically on disease,

Its cause and cure and I must hold my peace!

Thou wilt object

Why have I not ere this
Sought out the sage himself, the Nazarene
Who wrought this cure, inquiring at the source,
Conferring with the frankness that befits?
Alas! it grieveth me, the learned leech
Perished in a tumult many years ago,

[ocr errors]

Accused our learning's fate of wizardry,
Rebellion, to the setting up a rule

And creed prodigious as described to me.

His death, which happened when the earthquake fell
(Prefiguring, as soon appeared, the loss
To occult learning in our lord the sage
Who lived there in the pyramid alone),
Was wrought by the mad people

On vain recourse, as I conjecture it,

that's their wont!

To his tried virtue, for miraculous help —

How could he stop the earthquake? That's their way!

The other imputations must be lies:

But take one, though I loathe to give it thee,

In mere respect for any good man's fame.

(And after all, our patient Lazarus

Is stark mad; should we count on what he says?

Perhaps not though in writing to a leech
"T is well to keep back nothing of a case.)
This man so cured regards the curer, then,
As- God forgive me! who but God himself,
Creator and sustainer of the world,

That came and dwelt in flesh on it awhile!

'Sayeth that such an one was born and lived, Taught, healed the sick, broke bread at his own house, Then died, with Lazarus by, for aught I know, what I said nor choose repeat,

And yet was

And must have so avouched himself, in fact,

In hearing of this very Lazarus

Who saith

-but why all this of what he saith?
Why write of trivial matters, things of price
Calling at every moment for remark?
I noticed on the margin of a pool
Blue-flowering borage, the Aleppo sort,
Aboundeth, very nitrous. It is strange!

Thy pardon for this long and tedious case,
Which, now that I review it, needs must seem
Unduly dwelt on, prolixly set forth!
Nor I myself discern in what is writ
Good cause for the peculiar interest

And awe indeed this man has touched me with.
Perhaps the journey's end, the weariness
Had wrought upon me first. I met him thus:
I crossed a ridge of short sharp broken hills
Like an old lion's cheek-teeth. Out there came
A moon made like a face with certain spots
Multiform, manifold, and menacing:
Then a wind rose behind me. So we met

In this old sleepy town at unaware,
The man and I. I send thee what is writ.
Regard it as a chance, a matter risked
To this ambiguous Syrian - he may lose,
Or steal, or give it thee with equal good.
Jerusalem's repose shall make amends

For time this letter wastes, thy time and mine;
Till when, once more thy pardon and farewell!

The very God! think, Abib; dost thou think?
So, the All-Great, were the All-Loving too
So, through the thunder comes a human voice
Saying, "O heart I made, a heart beats here!
Face, my hands fashioned, see it in myself!

Thou hast no power nor may'st conceive of mine,
But love I gave thee, with myself to love,
And thou must love me who have died for thee!"
The madman saith He said so it is strange.


THERE's heaven above, and night by night
I look right through its gorgeous roof;
No suns and moons though e'er so bright
Avail to stop me; splendor-proof

I keep the broods of stars aloof:
For I intend to get to God,

For 't is to God I speed so fast,
For in God's breast, my own abode,
Those shoals of dazzling glory, passed,
I lay my spirit down at last.

I lie where I have always lain,

God smiles as he has always smiled;
Ere suns and moons could wax and wane,
Ere stars were thundergirt, or piled

The heavens, God thought on me his child;
Ordained a life for me, arrayed

Its circumstances every one

To the minutest; ay, God said

This head this hand should rest upon

Thus, ere he fashioned star or sun.

And having thus created me,

Thus rooted me, he bade me grow,

Guiltless forever, like a tree

That buds and blooms, nor seeks to know
The law by which it prospers so:

But sure that thought and word and deed

All go to swell his love for me,

Me, made because that love had need
Of something irreversibly

Pledged solely its content to be.
Yes, yes, a tree which must ascend,
No poison-gourd foredoomed to stoop!
I have God's warrant, could I blend
All hideous sins, as in a cup,

To drink the mingled venoms up;
Secure my nature will convert

The draught to blossoming gladness fast:
While sweet dews turn to the gourd's hurt,


And bloat, and while they bloat it, blast,
As from the first its lot was cast.


For as I lie, smiled on, full-fed
By unexhausted power to bless,
below on hell's fierce bed,
And those its waves of flame oppress,
Swarming in ghastly wretchedness;
Whose life on earth aspired to be
One altar-smoke, so pure ! to win,
If not love like God's love for me,
At least to keep his anger in ;
And all their striving turned to sin.
Priest, doctor, hermit, monk grown white
With prayer, the broken-hearted nun,
The martyr, the wan acolyte,

The incense-swinging child, undone
Before God fashioned star or sun!
God, whom I praise; how could I praise,
If such as I might understand,
Make out and reckon on his ways,
And bargain for his love, and stand,
Paying a price, at his right hand?



No bar

I COULD have painted pictures like that youth's
Ye praise so. How my soul springs up!
Stayed me ah, thought which saddens while it soothes
Never did fate forbid me, star by star,

[ocr errors]

To outburst on your night with all my gift

Of fires from God: nor would my flesh have shrunk From seconding my soul, with eyes uplift

And wide to heaven, or, straight like thunder, sunk To the centre, of an instant; or around

Turned calmly and inquisitive, to scan
The license and the limit, space and bound,
Allowed to truth made visible in man.
And, like that youth ye praise so, all I saw,
Over the canvas could my hand have flung,

Each face obedient to its passion's law,

Each passion clear proclaimed without a tongue;
Whether Hope rose at once in all the blood,
A-tiptoe for the blessing of embrace,

« AnteriorContinuar »