Imágenes de páginas

And never having glanced behind to know
If I had kept my primal light from wane,
Am thus insensibly grown-what I am!

Oh, bitter; very bitter!

And more bitter,

To fear a deeper curse, an inner ruin-
Plague beneath plague--the last turning the first
To light beside its darkness. Better weep

My youth and its brave hopes, all dead and gone,
In tears which burn! Would I were sure to win
Some startling secret in their stead !—a tincture
Of force to flush old age with youth, or breed
Gold, or imprison moonbeams till they change
To opal shafts-only that, hurling it
Indignant back, I might convince myself
My aims remained as ever supreme and pure!
Even now, why not desire, for mankind's sake,
That if I fail, some fault may be the cause,-
That, though I sink, another may succeed?
O God, the despicable heart of us!

Shut out this hideous mockery from my heart!

'Twas politic in you, Aureole, to reject

Single rewards, and ask them in the lump;
At all events, once launched, to hold straight on :
For now 'tis all or nothing. Mighty profit

Your gains will bring if they stop short of such
Full consummation! As a man, you had

A certain share of strength, and that is gone
Already in the getting these you boast.

Do not they seem to laugh, as who should say— "Great master, we are here indeed; dragged forth "To light this hast thou done; be glad! now, seek "The strength to use which thou hast spent in getting!"

And yet 'tis surely much, 'tis very much,
Thus to have emptied youth of all its gifts,
To feed a fire meant to hold out till morn
Arrive with inexhaustible light; and lo,
I have heaped up my last, and day dawns not!
While I am left with grey hair, faded hands,
And furrowed brow. Ha, have I, after all,
Mistaken the wild nursling of my breast?
Knowledge it seemed, and Power, and Recompense!
Was she who glided through my room of nights,-
Who laid my head on her soft knees, and smoothed
The damp locks,-whose sly soothings just began
When my sick spirit craved repose awhile-

God! was I fighting Sleep off for Death's sake?
God! Thou art Mind!

Mind should be precious.

Unto the Master-Mind

Spare my mind alone!

All else I will endure: if, as I stand w

Here, with my gains, thy thunder smite me down,

I bow me; 'tis thy will, thy righteous will;

\I o'erpass life's restrictions, and I die:

And if no trace of my career remain,

Save a thin corpse at pleasure of the wind

In these bright chambers, level with the air,
See thou to it! But if my spirit fail,

My once proud spirit forsake me at the last,
Hast thou done well by me? So do not thou!
Crush not my mind, dear God, though I be crushed!
Hold me before the frequence of thy seraphs,

And say "I crushed him, lest he should disturb
"My law. Men must not know their strength: behold,
"Weak and alone, how near he raised himself! "

But if delusions trouble me-and Thou,
Not seldom felt with rapture in thy help
Throughout my toil and wanderings, dost intend
To work man's welfare through my weak endeavour-
To crown my mortal forehead with a beam

From thine own blinding crown-to smile, and guide
This puny hand, and let the work so framed.
Be styled my work,-hear me ! I covet not
An influx of new power, an angel's soul:
It were no marvel then-but I have reached
Thus far, a man; let me conclude, a man!
Give but one hour of my first energy,
Of that invincible faith-one only hour!
That I may cover with an eagle-glance
The truths I have, and spy some certain way
To mould them, and completing them, possess!

Yet God is good: I started sure of that,
And why dispute it now? I'll not believe

But some undoubted warning long ere this

\Had reached me: stars would write his will in heaven,

As once when a labarum was not deemed

Too much for the old founder of these walls.
Then, if my life has not been natural,

It has been monstrous: yet, till late, my course
So ardently engrossed me, that delight,
A pausing and reflecting joy, 'tis plain,
Though such were meant to follow as its fruit,
Could find no place in it. True, I am worn;
But who clothes summer, who is Life itself?
God, that created all things, can renew !
And then, though after-life to please me now
Must have no likeness to the past, what hinders
Reward from springing out of toil, as changed

As bursts the flower from earth, and root, and stalk?
What use were punishment, unless some sin
Be first detected? let me know that first!

(Aprile, from within)

I hear a voice, perchance I heard
Long ago, but all too low,

So that scarce a thought was stirred

If really spoke the voice or no :
I heard it in my youth, when first
The waters of my life outburst :

But now their stream ebbs faint, I hear
The voice, still low, but fatal-clear-

As if all Poets, that God meant

Should save the world, and therefore lent
Great gifts to, but who, proud, refused
To do his work, or lightly used

Those gifts, or failed through weak endeavour,

And mourn, cast off by him forever,—

As if these leaned in airy ring

To call me; this the song they sing.

[ocr errors]

Lost, lost! yet come,

With our wan troop make thy home :
Come, come! for we

Will not breathe, so much as breathe
Reproach to thee!

Knowing what thou sink'st beneath :
So we sank in those old years,

We who bid thee, come! thou last
Who, a living man, hast life o'erpast,
And all together we, thy peers,

Will pardon ask for thee, the last

Whose trial is done, whose lot is cast

With those who watch, but work no more

Who gaze on life, but live no more:
And yet we trusted thou shouldst speak
God's message which our lips, too weak,
Refused to utter, shouldst redeem
Our fault such trust, and all, a dream!
So we chose thee a bright birth-place
Where the richness ran to flowers-
Couldst not sing one song for grace?

« AnteriorContinuar »