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Who-doubtless some rank sorcerer-had endeavoured

To thwart these pious offices, obstruct

The prince's cure, and frustrate Heaven, by help
Of certain devils dwelling in his sword.

By luck, the prince in his first fit of thanks
Had forced this bauble on me as an earnest
Of further favours. This one case may serve
To give sufficient taste of many such,
So let them pass: those shelves support a pile
Of patents, licenses, diplomas, titles,
From Germany, France, Spain, and Italy:
They authorise some honour: ne'ertheless,
I set more store by this Erasmus sent;
He trusts me; our Frobenius is his friend,
And him "I raised " (nay, read it) "from the dead"
I weary you, I see; I merely sought

To show, there's no great wonder after all
That while I fill the class-room, and attract
A crowd to Basil, I get leave to stay;
And therefore need not scruple to accept
The utmost they can offer-if I please :
For 'tis but right the world should be prepared
To treat with favour e'en fantastic wants
Of one like me, used up in serving her.
Just as the mortal, whom the Gods in part
Devoured, received in place of his lost limb
Some virtue or other-cured disease, I think;
You mind the fables we have read together.

Fest. You do not think I comprehend a word :

The time was, Aureole, you were apt enough
To clothe the airiest thoughts in specious breath ;
But surely you must feel how vague and strange
These speeches sound.


Well, then you know my hopes;

I am assured, at length, those hopes were vain;
That truth is just as far from me as ever;
That I have thrown my life away; that sorrow
On that account is vain, and further effort

To mend and patch what's marred beyond repairing,
As useless and all this was taught to me

By the convincing, good old-fashioned method
\Of force-by sheer compulsion. Is that plain?

Fest. Dear Aureole! you confess my fears were just? God wills not...


Now, 'tis this I most admire-
The constant talk men of your stamp keep up
Of God's will, as they style it; one would swear
Man had but merely to uplift his eye,

To see the will in question charactered

On the heaven's vault. 'Tis hardly wise to moot
Such topics: doubts are many and faith is weak.
I know as much of any will of God's,

As knows some dumb and tortured brute what Man,
His stern lord, wills from the perplexing blows
That plague him every way, and there, of course,
Where least he suffers, longest he remains-
My case; and for such reasons I plod on,
Subdued, but not convinced. I know as little

Why I deserve to fail, as why I hoped
Better things in my youth. I simply know
I am no master here, but trained and beaten
Into the path I tread; and here I stay,
Until some further intimation reach me,
Like an obedient drudge: though I prefer
To view the whole thing as a task imposed,
Which, whether dull or pleasant, must be done—
Yet, I deny not, there is made provision

Of joys which tastes less jaded might affect;
Nay, some which please me too, for all my pride-
Pleasures that once were pains: the iron ring
Festering about a slave's neck grows at length
Part of the flesh it eats. I hate no more
A host of petty, vile delights, undreamed of
Or spurned, before; such now supply the place
Of my dead aims: as in the autumn woods
Where tall trees used to flourish, from their roots
Springs up a fungous brood, sickly and pale,
Chill mushrooms, coloured like a corpse's cheek.
Fest. If I interpret well what words I seize,
It troubles me but little that your aims,
Vast in their dawning, and most likely grown
Extravagantly since, have baffled you.
Perchance I am glad; you merit greater praise;
Because they are too glorious to be gained,
You do not blindly cling to them and die;
You fell, but have not sullenly refused
To rise, because an angel worsted you

\In wrestling, though the world holds not your peer
And though too harsh and sudden is the change
To yield content as yet-still, you pursue
The ungracious path as though 'twere rosy-strewn.
"Tis well and your reward, or soon or late,
Will come from Him whom no man serves in vain.
Par. Ah, very fine! For my part, I conceive
The very pausing from all further toil,
Which you find heinous, would be as a seal
To the sincerity of all my deeds.

To be consistent I should die at once;
I calculated on no after-life;

Yet (how crept in, how fostered, I know not)
Here am I with as passionate regret

For youth, and health, and love so vainly lost,
As if their preservation had been first

And foremost in my thoughts; and this strange fact
Humbled me wondrously, and had due force
In rendering me the more disposed to follow
A certain counsel, a mysterious warning-
You will not understand-but 'twas a man
With aims not mine, but yet pursued like mine,
With the same fervor and no more success,
Who perished in my sight; but summoned me
As I would shun the ghastly fate I saw,
To serve my race at once; to wait no longer
'Till God should interfere in my behalf,
And let the next world's knowledge dawn on this;
But to distrust myself, put pride away,

And give my gains, imperfect as they were,
To men. I have not leisure to explain
How since, a strange succession of events
Has raised me to the station you behold,
Wherein I seem to turn to most account
The mere wreck of the past,-perhaps receive
Some feeble glimmering token that God views
And may approve my penance: therefore here
You find me doing most good or least harm:
And if folks wonder much and profit little
'Tis not my fault; only, I shall rejoice

When my part in the farce is shuffled through,
And the curtain falls; I must hold out 'till then.
Fest. Till when, dear Aureole ?


'Till I'm fairly thrust
From my proud eminence. Fortune is fickle
And even professors fall: should that arrive,
I see no sin in ceding to my bent.

You little fancy what rude shocks apprize us
We sin God's intimations rather fail
In clearness than in energy: 'twere well
Did they but indicate the course to take
Like that to be forsaken. I would fain
Be spared a further sample! Here I stand,
And here I stay, be sure, till forced to flit.

Fest. Remain but firm on that head; long ere then

All I expect will come to pass, I trust;

The cloud that wraps you will have disappeared.
Meantime, I see small chance of such event:

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