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Down she came and found a boat
Under tower and balcony,
Out upon the wharves they came,
WEET and low, sweet and low,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
SWEET AND LOW.
YET we trust that somehow good
To pangs of nature, sins of will,
That nothing walks with aimless feet,
That not one life shall be destroy'd,
That not a worm is cloven in vain ;
Under the silver moon ;
Blow him again to me, While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps. Sleep, my little one, sleep, my pretty one, sleep.
Behold, we know not anything,
I can but trust that good shall fall
THE HERE AND THE HEREAFTER.
So runs my dream: but what am I?
And round the prow they read her name,
Who is this? and what is here?
Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
The wish that of the living whole
No life may fail beyond the grave,
Are God and Nature then at strife?
That I considering everywhere
Her secret meaning in her deeds,
I falter where I firmly trod,
And falling with my weight of cares Upon the great world's altar-stairs That slope through darkness up to God,
I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope
And faintly trust the larger hope.
THE PASSING OF ARTHUR. "ENGLISH IDYLS."
ND answer made King Arthur, breathing hard:
"My end draws nigh: 'tis time that I
Make broad thy shoulders to receive my weight
Clothed with his breath and looking, as he walk'd, Larger than human on the frozen hills.
And on a sudden, lo! the level lake, And the long glories of the winter moon. Then saw they how there hove a dusky barge, Dark as a funeral scarf from stem to stern, Beneath them; and descending they were 'ware That all the decks were dense with stately forms, Black-stoled, black-hooded, like a dream. By
Three Queens with crowns of gold; and from them rose
A cry that shivered to the tingling stars;
And to the barge they came. There these three
Put forth their hands, and took the King, and wept.
But she that rose the tallest of them all
Or, clotted into points and hanging loose,
So like a shatter'd column lay the King.
Then loudly cried the bold Sir Bedivere: "Ah! my Lord Arthur, whither shall I go? Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes? For now I see the true old times are dead, When every morning brought a noble chance, And every chance brought out a noble knight. Such times have been not since the light hath led The Holy Elders with the gift of myrrh. But now the whole Round Table is dissolved, Which was an image of the mighty world, And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
And slowly answered Arthur from the barge:
I have lived my life, and that which I have done
O hark, O hear; how thin, how clear, And thinner, clearer, further going! O sweet and far from cliff and scar The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying; Blow bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying,
O love, they die in yon rich sky,
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying;
For so the whole round earth is every way
So said he, and the barge with oar and sail
REAK, break, break
On thy cold gray stones, O Sea! And I would that my tongue could utter The thoughts that arise in me.
"The splendor falls on castle walls."
BREAK, BREAK, BREAK.
O well for the fisherman's boy,
That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor-lad,
That he sings in his boat on the bay!
POETIC STUDENT OF HUMAN NATURE.
O great poet has been less understood by his own generation than was Robert Browning. His earlier writings aimed at lofty themes, which they did not interpret so successfully as to be comprehended by the reading public. His "Sordelo" has been likened to a house built by a young architect who forgot that a staircase was necessary. The author, a boy little beyond twenty, essayed a high thing, in which he partially failed, and for more than forty years the British public remembered it to his discredit, and seemed never weary of ridiculing and abusing it. Even in this, however, was the promise of Browning's best work.
He was the son of a clerk in the Bank of England, but had the entire sympathy and support of his father in his choice of literature as a profession. His life is almost without incident, and its details are not much known.
He lived from the time of his marriage, in 1846, principally abroad. After the death of Mrs. Browning, in 1861, he again lived in London in the winter; but died at Venice in 1889. The subtlety of Browning's poetry, the depth of meaning which is buried sometimes under the most trifling narrative, and sometimes so deeply hidden as to dismay any but the most determined student, has always prevented him from becoming a popular poet. For those, however, who will bestow upon them the necessary thought and study, his poems yield the richest returns. His best-known works are "Paracelsus," "Bells and Pomegranates," "The Blot on the 'Scutcheon," "Pippa Passes," "Men and Women," and "The Ring and the Book." Many of his shorter poems are more popular, and among these "The Ride from Ghent to Aix" is a masterpiece in action and intensity.
THE RIDE FROM GHENT TO AIX.
SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he : I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three ; "Good speed!" cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew ; "Speed! "echoed the wall to us galloping through;
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
Not a word to each other; we kept the great paceNeck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;