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Aloys and Jurien and Just
Order things back to their place,
Have a sharp eye lest the candlesticks rust,
Here's your book, younger folks shelve!
Played I not off-hand and runningly,
Just now, your masterpiece, hard number twelve? Here's what should strike, could one handle it cunningly:
Help the axe, give it a helve!
Page after page as I played,
Every bar's rest, where one wipes
Sweat from one's brow, I looked up and surveyed,
Sure you were wishful to speak,
You, with brow ruled like a score,
Yes, and eyes buried in pits on each cheek,
Like two great breves, as they wrote them of yore, Each side that bar, your straight beak!
Sure you said "Good, the mere notes!
"Still, couldst thou take my intent,
"Know what procured me our Company's votes--
Well then, speak up, never flinch!
-Burnt, do you see? to its uttermost inch-
First you deliver your phrase
-Nothing propound, that I see,
Fit in itself for much blame or much praise-
Straight must a Third interpose,
In strikes a Fourth, a Fifth thrusts in his nose,
One dissertates, he is candid;
Two must discept,—has distinguished;
Three helps the couple, if ever yet man did;
Four protests; Five makes a dart at the thing wished:
Back to One, goes the case bandied.
One says his say with a difference;
More of expounding, explaining!
All now is wrangle, abuse and vociferance;
Now there's a truce, all's subdued, self-restraining: Five, though, stands out all the stiffer hence.
One is incisive, corrosive;
Two retorts, nettled, curt, crepitant;
Four overbears them all, strident and strepitant:
Now, they ply axes and crowbars;
Now, they prick pins at a tissue
Fine as a skein of the casuist Escobar's
Worked on the bone of a lie. To what issue? Where is our gain at the Two-bars?
Est fuga, volvitur rota.
On we drift: where looms the dim port? One, Two, Three, Four, Five, contribute their quota; Something is gained, if one caught but the importShow it us, Hugues of Saxe-Gotha!
What with affirming, denying,
Holding, risposting, subjoining,
All's like... it's like ... for an instance I'm trying There! See our roof, its gilt moulding and groining Under those spider-webs lying!
So your fugue broadens and thickens,
Greatens and deepens and lengthens,
Till we exclaim-"But where's music, the dickens? "Blot ye the gold, while your spider-web strengthens "Blacked to the stoutest of tickens?"
I for man's effort am zealous:
Prove me such censure unfounded!
Seems it surprising a lover grows jealous
Hopes 't was for something, his organ-pipes sounded, Tiring three boys at the bellows?
Is it your moral of Life?
Such a web, simple and subtle,
Weave we on earth here in impotent strife, Backward and forward each throwing his shuttle, Death ending all with a knife?
Over our heads truth and nature
Still our life's zigzags and dodges,
God's gold just shining its last where that lodges, Palled beneath man's usurpature.
So we o'ershroud stars and roses,
Cherub and trophy and garland;
Nothings grow something which quietly closes
Heaven's earnest eye: not a glimpse of the far land Gets through our comments and glozes.
Ah but traditions, inventions,
(Say we and make up a visage)
So many men with such various intentions,
Down the past ages, must know more than this age! Leave we the web its dimensions!
Robert Browning. III.
Who thinks Hugues wrote for the deaf,
Friend, your fugue taxes the finger:
Hugues! I advise meâ pœnâ
(Counterpoint glares like a Gorgon)
Bid One, Two, Three, Four, Five, clear the arena! Say the word, straight I unstop the full-organ, Blare out the mode Palestrina.
While in the roof, if I'm right there,
Hallo, you sacristan, show us a light there!
What, you want, do you, to come unawares,
At the foot of your rotten-runged rat-riddled stairs? Do I carry the moon in my pocket?