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Fest. Not that blest time-not our youth's time, dear


Par. Ha-stay! true, I forget-all is done since! And he is come to judge me: how he speaks, How calm, how well! yes, it is true, all true; All quackery; all deceit! myself can laugh The first at it, if you desire: but still You know the obstacles which taught me tricks So foreign to my nature-envy, and hateBlind opposition-brutal prejudiceBald ignorance-what wonder if I sunk To humour men the way they most approved? My cheats were never palmed on such as you, Dear Festus! I will kneel if you require me, Impart the meagre knowledge I possess, Explain its bounded nature, and avow My insufficiency-whate'er you will: I give the fight up! let there be an end, A privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten even by God! But if that cannot be, dear Festus, lay me, When I shall die, within some narrow grave, Not by itself for that would be too proudBut where such graves are thickest; let it look Nowise distinguished from the hillocks round, So that the peasant at his brother's bed May tread upon my own and know it not; \And we shall all be equal at the last,

Or classed according to life's natural ranks,

Fathers, sons, brothers, friends-not rich, nor wise,
Nor gifted lay me thus, then say

"He lived

"Too much advanced before his brother men:

"They kept him still in front; 'twas for their good, "But yet a dangerous station. It were strange

"That he should tell God he had never ranked

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With men so, here at least he is a man!"

Fest. That God shall take thee to his breast, dear Spirit,

Unto his breast, be sure! and here on earth
Shall splendour sit upon thy name for ever!
Sun! all the heaven is glad for thee what care
If lower mountains light their snowy phares
At thine effulgence, yet acknowledge not
The source of day? Men look up to the sun:
For after-ages shall retrack thy beams,
And put aside the crowd of busy ones,
And worship thee alone the master-mind,
The thinker, the explorer, the creator!

Then, who should sneer at the convulsive throes
With which thy deeds were born, would scorn as well

The winding sheet of subterraneous fire

Which, pent and writhing, sends no less at last
Huge islands up amid the simmering sea!

Behold thy might in me! thou hast infused
Thy soul in mine; and I am grand as thou,
Seeing I comprehend thee-I so simple,
Thou so august! I recognise thee first;

I saw thee rise, I watched thee early and late,
And though no glance reveal thou dost accept

My homage thus no less I proffer it,
And bid thee enter gloriously thy rest!
Par. Festus!


I am for noble Aureole, God!
I am upon his side, come weal or woe!wan
His portion shall be mine! He has done well!
I would have sinned, had I been strong enough,
As he has sinned! Reward him or I waive
Reward! If thou canst find no place for him,
He shall be king elsewhere, and I will be
His slave for ever! There are two of us!

Par. Dear Festus !

Here, dear Aureole!
Par. Nay, speak on, or I dream again.

ever by you!

Speak on!

Some story, any thing-only your voice.
I shall dream else. Speak on! ay, leaning so!
Fest. Softly the Mayne river glideth

Close by where my love abideth;
Sleep's no softer it proceeds

On through lawns, on through meads,
On and on, whate'er befall,
Meandering and musical,

Though the niggard pasture's edge
Bears not on its shaven ledge.
Aught but weeds and waving grasses
To view the river as it passes,
Save here and there a scanty patch
Of primroses, too faint to catch
A weary bee...

Par. More, more; say on!


The river pushes

Its gentle way through strangling rushes,

Where the glossy king-fisher

Flutters when noon-heats are near,

Glad the shelving banks to shun,

Red and steaming in the sun, ona
Where the shrew-mouse with pale throat
Burrows, and the speckled stoat,

Where the quick sand-pipers flit

In and out the marl and grit

That seems to breed them, brown as they.

Nought disturbs the river's way,

Save some lazy stork that springs,

Trailing it with legs and wings,

Whom the shy fox from the hill
Rouses, creep he ne'er so still.

Par. My heart! they loose my heart, those simple words;
Its darkness passes, which nought else could touch;
Like some dark snake that force may not expel,
Which glideth out to music sweet and low. has n
What were you doing when your voice broke through
A chaos of ugly images? You, indeed !edalo.
Are you alone here?


This cell?


All alone: you know me?

Par. An unexceptionable vault

Good brick and stone the bats kept out, the rats

Kept in a snug nook: how should I. mistake it?

Fest: But wherefore am I here ?

Why, for a purpose for a purpose, Festus!
'Tis like me here I trifle while time fleets,
And this occasion, lost, will ne'er return!
You are here to be instructed. I will tell
God's message; but I have so much to say,
I fear to leave half out: all is confused

Ah! well remembered:

No doubt; but doubtless you will learn in time.
He would not else have brought you here: no doubt
I shall see clearer soon.


You are not in despair?


Tell me but this—

I? and for what?

Fest. Alas, alas! he knows not, as I feared!

Par. What is it you would ask me with that earnest, Dear, searching face?



How feel you, Aureole?

Well: 'tis a strange thing. I am dying, Festus,
And now that fast the storm of life subsides,

I first perceive how great the whirl has been:

I was calm then, who am so dizzy now—
Calm in the thick of the tempest, but no less
A partner of its motion, and mixed up

With its career. The hurricane is spent,


And the good boat speeds through the brightening weather;

But is it earth or sea that heaves below?

For the gulf rolls like a meadow, overstrewn

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