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COLONIAL BALLADS. SONNETS 

AND OTHER VERSE 





'7939 



COLONIAL BALLADS, SONNETS 
AND OTHER VERSE 



MARGARET J. ^RESTON 

author of " silverwood," " beechenbrook," '* old song and new,' 
"cartoons," "for love's sake," etc. 



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BOSTON AND NEW YORK 
HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY 

1887 



, , , Copjilglit, 1&87„ 

By MARGARET J. PRESTON. 



All rights reserved. 



The Riverside Press, Cambridge : 
Blectrotyped and Printed by H. 0. Houghton & Co 



To 

BIY FRIEND, 
JEAN INGELOW, 

FROM WHOSE BIRTH-PLACE SAILED THE VESSELS 

THAT BROUGHT SOME OF THE EARLIEST ENGLISH COLONISTS 

TO THE WESTERN WORLD. 



jy!76629 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/colonialballadssOOpresrich 



What wilt thou walk abroad in, Muse of mine f 
The violet jpeplos, such as in the shades 
Of Mitylene's gardens, Lesbian maids 

(JEJrinna and the rest) spun from the fins 

Milesian wools? Or round thee wilt thou twine 
Egypt's severer linen, till it lades 
Thy brows as it did Miriam's dusky braids ? 

Or drape thee like Egeria at her shrine? 
Or, as thy vestment, choose the cloth-of-gold, 
Of later singers, richer dight than these, 

Which thou mayst borrow, an unquestioned loan, 
When want impels, to wrap thee from the cold ? 
Nay, Micse of mine ! in robe of unpatched frieze, 

Go, rather, thou, — if so it be thine own ! 



CONTENTS. 



SONNETS. 

PAGB 

The Mount of Vision 1 

*'SiT, Jessica" 2 

In the Upfizi Gallery 3 

Keats's Greek Urn 4 

Unbridled 5 

The Unsearchable Name . . . . . . .6 

Hawthorne 7 

A Bit of Autumn Color 8 

At St. Oswald's 9 

Ultima Thule 10 

Attar of Roses 11 

Circumstance 12 

Out of Nazareth 13 

Nature's Comfortings 14 

In Cripplegate Church 15 

Comfort for the King 16 

Dante Gabriel Rossetti 17 

The Sibyl's Doubt 18 



Vlii CONTENTS. 

Haydn's Last Quartet 19 

Prince Deucalion 20 

Pro Republica 21 

COLONIAL BALLADS. 

The Mystery of Cro-a-t1n 22 

Sir Walter's Honor 30 

The Last Meeting of Pocahontas and the Great Cap- 
tain 44 

The First Thanksgiving Day 48 

The Price of a Little Pilgrim 52 

The First Proclamation of Miles Standish . . 56 

St. Botolph's Chimes 60 

The Puritan Maiden's May-Day 63 

Lady Yeardley's Guest QQ 

The Queen of Pamunkey 72 

DoRRis' Spinning 77 

Fast-Day Sport 82 

Greenway Court 85 

The Boys' Redoubt 90 

BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

The Silent Tryst 95 

The Ballad of the Bell-Tower 99 

The Lake Among the Hills 103 

The Royal Abbess 1^5 

The Bishop's Epitaph 108 

Maid Cicely's Steeple Cap 114 



CONTENTS. IX 

The Wanderer's Bell 117 

Before Death 120 

A November Nocturne 122 

Autumn Love 124 

The Flemish Bells 127 

Nunc Dimittis 130 

The Fairies' Table-Cloth 133 

The Kiss of Worship 135 

At Last 138 

A Belle of Pr-enestb 141 

The Longshoreman's View of It 144 

The Wine-Vaults of Bergensteen .... 146 

pritchard the engineer 150 

Compensation 152 

Arab Wit 155 

Calling the Angels in 158 

Persephone 160 

The Kept Promise 163 

A Touch of Frost 166 

The First Te Deum 168 

The Christ-Crotch 171 

The Begging Cupid 175 

How Hilda's Prayer was Answered .... 177 

Cambridge Bells 183 

The Roman Boy's Share in the Triumph . . . 185 

Same-Sickness 189 

Her Wedding Song 192 

The Angel Unaware 195 



X CONTENTS. 

Nature's Threnody 197 

Even-Song 199 

SONNETS. 

The Poet's Answer 201 

We Two 202 

Hestia 203 

Art's Limitations 204 

Flood-Tide 205 

Abnegation 206 

Over-Content 207 

In The Pantheon 208 

Mendelssohn's Reward 209 

" Philip, My King " 210 

Moods. 

Morning . 211 

Night 212 

Human Providence 213 

Horizons 214 

The Lesson of the Leaf 215 

Wherefore ? 216 

Medallion Heads. 

Saskia 217 

VlTTORIA COLONNA 218 

La Fornarina . 219 

lucrezia 220 

Frau Agnes 221 

QuiNTiN Matsys' Bride ... . . . 222 



CONTENTS, XI 

CHII.DHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

Leonardo's Angel 223 

Giotto's First Picture 229 

Fra Angelico's Boyhood 232 

Behind the Arras 235 

The Milan Bird-Cages 239 

Little Titian's Palette 243 

Michael's Mallet 246 

GuiDo's Complaint 249 

Claude's Journey 252 

The Boy Van Dyck 256 



SONNETS. 



THE MOUNT OF VISION. 

TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON, ON HIS LAST BIRTHDAY. 

O PROPHET ! standing on thy Nebo height, 
Wrapt in thy rare, unworldly atmosphere, 
With senses purged, with aspect large and clear, 

Thy long-sought, life's Ideal looms in sight : 

Here, Jordan at thy feet, — there, Hermon white ; 
And all between, the realms of promised cheer. 
Wine, olives, milk and honey, now appear 

Stretched vast before thee in the evening light. 

What seeth the seer, as from the Mount of Grod 

He gazes o'er the desert-travel, back 
Past Sphinx and Pyramids' infinity ? 

A cloud-led, vatic pathway, bravely trod, — 
A Bethlehem brightness o'er the forward track. 

That gleams, glows, broadens, to the " Utmost Sea " ! 



SONNETS. 



'!:/''/': i I r.^^^'^ JESSICA." 

As there she stood, that sweet Venetian night, 
Her pure face lifted to the skies, aswim 
With stars from zenith to horizon's rim, 

I think Lorenzo scarcely saw the light 

Asleep upon the bank, or felt how bright 

The patines were. She filled the heavens for him ; 
And in her low replies, the cherubim 

Seemed softly quiring from some holy height. 

And when he drew her down and soothed her tears, 
Stirred by the minstrelsy, with passionate kiss, 

Whose long, sweet iterations left her lips 
Trembling, as roses tremble after sips 

Of eager bees, the music of the spheres 
Held not one rhythmic rapture like to this ! 



SONNETS. 



IN THE UFFIZI GALLERY. 

" This bit of paper, thumbed and dingy gray " — 
The cicerone chattered — but I paid 
No heed to him, nor even my footsteps stayed, 
Until he droned, in his perfunctory way, 
(He tells the story twenty times a day,) — 
" Is one of Raphael's crayon studies made 
For DeUa Sedia " — 

Instant was I laid 
Spell-bound, as if beneath some sovereign sway ! 

I touched the master's sleeve, I stood so near ; 

Watched his held breathing, as the incipient line 
Took shape, and shadowed the supreme design. 

Clear-drawn within his soul, and seemed to hear - 
I saw the blot ! — a quick, ecstatic tear 

Drop, as the pencil fixed his thought divine ! 



SONNETS. 



KEATS'S GREEK URN. 

When the young poet wrought so unaware 
From purest Parian, washed by Grecian seas, 
And stained to amber softness by the breeze 

Of Attic shores, his Urn, antiquely fair, — 

And brimmed it at the sacred fountain, where 

The draughts he drew were sweet as Castaly's, — 
Had he foreseen what souls would there appease 

Their purer thirsts, he had not known despair ! 

About it long processions move and wind, 
Held by its grace, — a chalice choicely fit 

For truth's and beauty's perfect interfuse, 
Whose effluence the exhaling years shall find 

Unwasted : for the poet's name is writ 
(Firmer than marble) in Olympian dews ! 



SONNETS. 



UNBRIDLED. 

It might have been so much, — this life now done, - 
So furrowed with accomplishment, so strong 
To struggle for the right, oppose the wrong, 

And be the first at every goal ; for none 

Went forth less weighted than this favored one, 
Whom Nature, in her bounty, seemed to throng 
With helps, his whole unhindered course along. 

Yet to what end, now that the race is run ? 

The will, untamed as pampas-steed's, had known 
No hard-set purpose — yielded to no rein. 

Obeyed no curb — shirked labor's lasso-coil, 
And roving masterless, with streaming mane, 

Scorned, in its lawless liberty, to own 

Duty's sharp check, and wear the gear of toil. 



SONNETS. 



THE UNSEARCHABLE NAME. 

When I attempt to give the power which I see manifested in the universe an 
objective form, personal or otherwise, it slips away from me, declining all in- 
tellectual manipulation. I dare not use the pronoun " He " regarding it ; I dare 
not call it a " Mind ; " I refuse to call it even a " Cause." — Peof. Tyndall. 

O CALM philosopher, so seeming meek, 

Who on the midnight heavens dost gaze with awe, 
And own the fathomless force behind the law, 

Confessing that thy finitude is weak 

To gauge infinity, when thou wouldst seek, 
With eyes that are but mortal eyes, to draw 
Within thy vision what mortal never saw, 

Or utter what no human lips can speak : — 

Thou " dare not call it ' He ' ? " — Then dare not so, 
If underneath the mystery, thou art awed. 

We talk of man thus : '' he '' who treads the sod : 

Thou wilt not name it " Mind," or " Cause " ? Too low 

These earth-words comprehensible ! Nay, go 
Back to primordial truth, and call it God ! 



SONNETS. 



HAWTHORNE. 

He stood apart — but as a mountain stands 

In isolate repose above the plain, 

Robed in no pride of aspect, no disdain. 
Though clothed with power to steep the sunniest lands 
In mystic shadow. At the mood's demands, 

Himself he clouded, till no eye could gain 

The vanished peak, no more, with sense astrain, 
Than trace a footprint on the surf-washed sands. 

Yet hidden within that rare, sequestered height, 

Imperially lonely, what a world 
Of splendor lay ! what pathless realms untrod ! 

What rush and wreck of passion ! What delight 
Of woodland sweets ! What weird winds, phantom- whirled I 

And over all, the immaculate sky of God ! 



SONNETS, 



A BIT OF AUTUMN COLOR. 

Centred upon a sloping crest, I gazed 
As one enchanted. The horizon's ring 
Of billowy mountains, flushed with sunsetting, 

Islanded me about, and held me mazed, 

With beauty saturate. Never color blazed 
On any mortal palette that could fling 
Such golden glamour over everything 

As flashed from autumn's prism, till all was hazed 

With opal, amber, sapphire, amethyst. 

That shinamered, mingled, dusked to steely blue. 

Raptured I mused : Salvator never drew 

Its faintest semblance ; Turner's pencil missed 

Such culmination : yet we count them true 

Masters. Behold what God's one touch can do ! 



SONNETS. 



AT ST. OSWALD'S. 

Within the church I knelt, where many a year 
Wordsworth had worshipped, while his musing eye 
Wandered o'er mountain, fell, and scaur, and sky, 

That rimmed the silver circle of Grasmere, 

Whose crystal held an under-world as clear 

As that which girt it round ; and questioned why 
The place was sacred for his lifted sigh. 

More than the humble dalesman's kneeling near. 

Strange spell of Genius ! — that can melt the soul 

To reverence tenderer than o'er it falls 
Beneath the marvellous heavens which God hath made, 

And sway it with such human-sweet control 
That holier henceforth seem these simple walls, 

Because within them once a poet prayed ! 
Grasmere, 1884. 



10 SONNETS. 



ULTIMA THULE. 



H. W. L. 



Wrap the broad canvas close ; furl the last sail ; 
Let go the anchor ; for the utmost shore 
Is reached at length, from which, ah ! nevermore, 

Shall the brave bark ride forth to meet the gale, 

Or skim the calm with phosphorescent trail. 
Or guide lost mariners amid the roar 
Of hurricanes, or send — far echoing o'er 

Some shipwrecked craft — the music of his " Hail ! " 

And he has laid his travel-garb aside ; 

And forth to meet him come the mystic band 
Whom he has dreamed of, worshipped, loved so long - 

The veiled Immortals, who, with holy pride 
Of exultation, take him by the hand 

And lead him to the inner shrine of Song. 



SONNETS. 11 



ATTAR OF ROSES. 

Here in a sandal-box, with Persian lore 

Gilded upon the slender vial (see ! 

Some love-line out of Hafiz it may be), 
I keep imprisoned the delicious store 
Of a whole Cashmere garden. O'er and o'er, 

With every inhalation come to me 

Light, song, breeze, color, — all the witchery 
That crowds a thousand roses' golden core. 

Would the wide field be better, where the way 
Is free to whoso cares to pass ? where none 

May claim an overplus ? where oft the sun 
Scorches, and clouds beset the calmest day ? 

Thou know'st, who hast for me, through yea and nay, 
Attared my thousand roses into one ! 



12 SONNETS. 



CIRCUMSTANCE. 

" You may be what you will," the sciolist 
Says sagely, sitting in the master's seat ; 
And straightway hastens glibly to repeat 
Such echoing names, that all dissent is whist 
To hear the records read, wherein consist 
The hero-tales of ages ; while defeat 
Yields proof to him, infaUible, complete, 
That through weak will alone success is missed. 

Yet round each life there crowds an atmosphere 
Of strong environment for woe or weal. 

That proves to one a joyous fostering power ; 
To one a fateful force, subversive, drear ; 

As damps, that nurse to perfect bloom the flower, 
Rust to corrosion the elastic steel. 



SONNETS. 13 



OUT OF NAZARETH. 

Dear proud old land, — Judaea of our heart ! 

Our prophets, poets, kings, we claim of thee, 

And own that all we have of good and free, 
And brave and beautiful, is but a part 
Of England's birthright-gift, because thou art 

The fount of our ancestral blood, though we 

Seem only an outlying Galilee 
To thee, — the assenting nations' mightiest mart. 

Why should our senses not be keen as thine. 
Our eye as quick for color ; our strong breath 

For poet's song ; our ear for music's call ; 

Since Nature's newest glories round us shine ? 

Wait the time's fulness : out of Nazareth 
May come the availing prophet, after all ! 



14 SONNETS. 



NATURE'S COMFORTINGS. 

I CANNOT bear this gloom of grief (I said) 
Within shut walls : beneath the open sky 
So pure in its inviolate calm, so high, 

I will go forth, and lean my throbbing head 

On Nature's all-compassionate heart, instead 
Of human props, that find no more than I 
An answer to the wild, importunate " why ? ** 

That moans its questioning wail above my dead. 

I passed without, beseeching Grief to stay ; 

The sweet blue air kissed down my sense of pain ; 
The strong, perpetual mountains seemed to steep 

My wounds in balm ; the breeze brushed tears away ; 
The sunshine soothed : and when I turned again 

Within my door, lo 1 Grief had fallen asleep ! 



SONNETS. 16 



IN CRIPPLEGATE CHURCH.^ 

I STAND with reverence at the altar-rail, 

O'er which the soft rose-window sheds its dyes, 
And, looking up, behold in pictured guise 

Its choirs of singing cherubs, — heaven's All hail ! 

Upon each lip, and on each brow a trail 
Of golden hair, for here the poet's eyes 
Had rested, dreaming dreams of Paradise, 

As on yon seat he sat, ere yet the veil 

Of blindness had descended. 

Who shall say 
That when the " during dark " had steeped his sight, 
And on the ebon tablet flashed to view 

His Eden, with its angels, mystic, bright, 
There swept not his unconscious memory through 
The quiring cherubs that I see to-day ? 
London. 

^ The church in which Milton worshipped, and is buried. 



16 SONNETS. 



COMFORT FOR THE KING. 

Upon his carven couch the monarch lay, 
Wrapt in Sidonian purples ; but no trace 
0£ Bethlehem ruddiness was on his face, 

Nor as a king he spake, — "I go the way 

Of all the earth : " — but as a man who may 
Find solace in the thought — that of the race, 
Among its myriads, none should miss a place 

Upon the path that he must tread that day. 

Ah, human comfort ! None but God is great 
Enough for loneliness ! Man in his dearth 

Of help or hope, succumbing to his fate. 
Finds what a tender reconcilement hath 

This royal thought, to moss the flinty path, 
— 'T is but at most the way of all the earth ! 



SONNETS. 17 



DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI. 

O MASTER of mysterious harmony ! 

Well hast thou proved to us the right divine 
To wear thy name. The glorious Florentine 

Had hailed thee comrade on the Stygian sea, — 

Exiled from haunts of men, and sad as he ; 
And the strong angel of the inner shrine, — 
Stooped he not sometimes to that soul of thine, 

On messages of radiant ministry ? 

Thy spiritual breath was the cathedral air 

Of the dead ages. Saints have with thee talked. 

As with a friend. Thou knewest the sacred thrills 
That moved Angelico to tears and prayer ; 

And thou, as in a daily dream, hast walked 
With Perugino midst his Umhrian hills. 



18 SONNETS. 



THE SIBYL'S DOUBT.^ 

" This throbbing, reasoning, passionate soul," she said, 
" May be a mere secretion, hidden away 
As life is hidden within this coil of clay, 

So subtly that all search of ages dead 

Has failed to probe its secret, or to shed 
More light upon the Everlasting Yea 
Than Plato knew : and so I grope to-day 

Mid doubts no Academe has quieted." 

What matters, then, if ill, or good, or glad, — 
This life not worth the toil ; this strife so brief, 

That only ends in some Nirvana dream, 

Or dark perhaps, that makes the future seem 

Annihilate ? No marvel she was sad. 
This sibyl brooding in her unbelief ! 

1 Towards the close of her life, George Eliot was accustomed to 
put forth the idea, in conversation, that " the soul may be nothing 
more than a secretion." 



SONNETS. 19 



HAYDN^S LAST QUARTET. 

Hin ist alle meine Kraft : alt und schwach bin ich. 

Within the old maestro^s brooding brain 
A yearning inspiration stirred once more ; 
And catching up the long-neglected score, 

He sought with trembling hand to link a chain, 

Wherewith to capture the seolian strain, 
And cage it with his chords, as heretofore. 
Ere it should flutter from his touch, and soar 

Where never breath should weight its wings again. 

His fingers feebly groped among the keys, 
As moaning to himself, they heard him say, 

" Gone is my skill, and old and weak am I : " 
And when he ceased the labored movement, there 

Was this one line, that in a plaintive sigh 
Of sobbing iterations died away. 



20 SONNETS. 



PRINCE DEUCALION. 

It will be remembered that Bayard Taylor's drama " Prince Deukalion " was 
published at the time of his death. 

The closing act was reached, the drama done, 
And the magician who had wrought the spell 
Let drop the curtain. Tranced, we scarce could tell 

Where lay his power, as, shifting one by one 

The scenes, he showed us how the ages run 

On toward that life where all perfections dwell. 
Ending, he said, " Not mine, I deem fuU well. 

To dare divine thsit future known to none." 

What secret summons came, we cannot know ; 

But, on the instant turned, as though he heard 
A voice beyond the close-drawn curtain, call — 

And parting it with gesture calm and slow. 
He stepped within, nor spake another word : 

And now, behind the veil, he knows it all ! 



SONNETS. 21 



PRO REPUBLICA. 

Not for thyself, O high, heroic soul ! 

Didst thou endure the rack of martyr-pain ; 

Not for thyself, thou caredst to mamtain 
So grandly the stern struggle, though the whole 
Heart-yearning world, thriUed with one strange control, 

Stood by with bated breath and eyes astrain. 

Waiting, when thou the fearful fight shouldst gain, 
To girdle earth with pasans to either pole. 

No Roman falling on the victor's field, 
Rang out, in dying, with sublimer breath 

His Pro Bepublica, or fixed an eye 

Of calmer sacrifice — that would not yield 

Till bidden of Heaven — upon the face of Death 
Than thou, who for our sakes hast dared to die. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 



THE MYSTERY OF CRO-A-TAN. 

The first English colony was sent to America by Sir Walter 
Raleigh under the auspices of Sir Richard Granville. The settle- 
ment was made on Roanoke Island in Albemarle Sound. 

A. D. 1587. 

I. 

The home-bound ships stood out to sea, 

And on the island's marge, 
Sir Richard waited restlessly 

To step into the barge. 

" The Governor tarrieth long," he chode, 
"As he were loath to go : 
With food before, and want behind. 
There should be haste, I trow.'* 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 23 

Even as he spake the Governor came : — 

" Nay, fret not, for the men 
Have held me back with frantic let, 

To have them home again. 

" The women weep ; — ' Ay, ay, the ships 

Will come again,' (he saith,) 
* Before the May : — Before the May 
We shall have starved to death ! ' 

" I 've sworn return by God's dear leave, 
I 've vowed by Court and Crown, 
Nor yet appeased them. Comrade, thou, 
Mayhap, canst soothe them down." 

Sir Richard loosed his helm, and stretched 
Impatient hands abroad : — 
" Have ye no trust in man ? " he cried, 
" Have ye no faith in God ? 

" Your Governor goes, as needs he must, 
To bear through royal grace. 
Hither, such food-supply, that want 
May never blench a face. 



24 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

" Of freest choice ye willed to leave 
What so ye had of ease ; 
For neither stress of liege nor law 
Hath forced you over seas. 

" Your Governor leaves fair hostages 
As costliest pledge of care, — 
His daughter yonder, and her child, 
The child Virginia Dare.^ 

** Come hither, little sweetheart ! So ! 

Thou *lt be the first, I ween. 
To bend the knee, and send through me 
Thy birthland's virgin fealty, 

Unto its Virgin Queen. 

" And now, good folk, for my commands : 
If ye are fain to roam 
Beyond this island's narrow bounds. 
To seek elsewhere a home, — 

" Upon some pine-tree's smoothen trunk 
Score deep the Indian name 

^ Virginia Dare, the granddaughter of Governor Whyte, was the 
first English child bom in America. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 25 

Of tribe or village where ye haunt, 
That we may read the same. 

" And if ye leave your haven here 
Through dire distress or loss, 
Cut deep within the wood above. 
The symbol of the cross. 

" And now on my good blade, I swear, 

And seal it with this sign. 
That if the fleet that sails to-day 
Return not hither by the May, 

The fault shall not be mine ! " 

II. 

The breath of spring was on the sea ; 

Anon the Governor stepped 
His good ship's deck right merrily, — 

His promise had been kept. 

" See, see ! the coast-line comes in view ! " 

He heard the mariners shout, — 
" We '11 drop our anchors in the Sound 

Before a star is out ! " 



26 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

" Now God be praised ! " he inly breathed, 
" Who saves from all that harms ; 
The morrow morn my pretty ones 
Will rest within my arms." 

At dawn of day, they moored their ships, 
And dared the breakers' roar : 

What meant it ? Not a man was there 
To welcome them ashore ! 

They sprang to find the cabins rude ; 

The quick green sedge had thrown 
Its knotted web o'er every door, 

And climbed the chimney-stone. 

The spring was choked with winter's leaves, 

And feebly gurgled on ; 
And from the pathway, strewn with wrack, 

All trace of feet was gone. 

Their fingers thrid the matted grass. 
If there, perchance, a mound 

Unseen might heave the broken turf : 
But not a grave was found. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 2T 

They beat the tangled cypress swamp, 

If haply in despair 
They might have strayed into its glade : 

But found no vestige there. 

" The pine ! the pine ! " the Governor groaned ; 
And there each staring man 
Read in a maze, one single word, 
Deep carven, — Cro-a-tXn ! 

But cut above, no cross, no sign. 

No symbol of distress ; 
Naught else beside that mystic line, 

Within the wilderness ! 

And where and what was " Cro-a-tan '' ? 

But not an answer came ; 
And none of all who read it there 

Had ever heard the name. 

The Governor drew his jerkin sleeve 
Across his misty eyes ; 
" Some land, may be, of savagery 
Beyond the coast that lies ; 



28 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

" And skulking there the wily foe 
In ambush may have lain ; 
God's mercy ! Could such sweetest heads 
Lie scalped among the slain ? 

" O daughter ! daughter ! with the thought 
My harrowed brain is wild ! 
Up with the anchors ! I must find 
The mother and the child ! " 

They scoured the mainland near and far : 
The search no tidings brought ; 

Till mid a forest's dusky tribe 

They heard the name they sought. 

The kindly natives came with gifts 
Of corn and slaughtered deer ; 

What room for savage treachery 
Or foul suspicion here ? 

Unhindered of a chief or brave, 

They searched the wigwam through ; 
But neither lance nor helm nor spear, 
Nor shred of child's nor woman's gear. 
Could furnish forth a clue. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 29 

How could a hundred souls be caught 

Straight out of life, nor find 
Device through which to mark their fate, 

Or leave some hint behind ? 

Had winter's ocean inland rolled 

An eagre's deadly spray. 
That overwhelmed the island's breadth, 

And swept them all away ? 

In vain, in vain, their heart-sick search ! 

No tidings reached them more ; 
No record save that silent word 

Upon that silent shore. 

The mystery rests a mystery still. 

Unsolved of mortal man : 
Sphinx-like untold, the ages hold 

The tale of Cro-a-tXn ! 



30 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



SIR WALTER'S HONOR.^ 

A. D. 1618. 
I. 
1. 
" O MOTHER ! fling thy fears away, 
Bid sorrow from thy brow ! 
My father's ships, the sailors say, 
Are in the offing now." 

2. 

" Nay, lad ! Full oft before to me 
Hath come the self-same tale ; 
A thousand times I Ve scanned the sea. 
And never seen his sail." 

3. 

" But hark, sweet mother ! in the street 
The folk make wild uproar : 

^ An incident in the life of Sir Walter Raleigh. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 31 

Haste ! let us be the first to greet 
His step upon the shore." 

4. 

** Ah, boy ! how dare my heart believe ? 
How dare I crave, good lack ! 
While foes so plot and friends deceive, 
To have thy father back ? 



*' They watch to seize and search his ship, 
And oh ! mine eyes grow dim, 
And terror palsies heart and lip : 
They lay their snares for him — 

6. 

" My noble lord, who weighed no pain, 
Nor toil nor cost, I ween, 
Nor ruth of savage lands, to gain 
New kingdoms for his Queen. 

7. 

" Bermoothes' rocks that gulfed his masts, 
And tempest-wrack and foam, 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 

Are kinder than the King who blasts 
The joy of coming home ! " 



n. 

1. 

With drooping sail and shattered mast, 

Sir Walter's galleons lay 
Beyond the bar, but soon they cast 

Anchor in Plymouth Bay. 



He leaped to shore with bated breath, 

For there, right full in view, 
Stood his fair wife, Elizabeth, 

And his fair son, Carew. 

3. 

** My Bess ! " he cried, — " my Bess, my boy I " 
As through the throng he pressed, 
And caught her in his weary joy, 
Dead-swooning, to his breast. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 33 

4. 

And while he soothed her pale alarms 

With words all passion-sweet, 
He heard a troop of men-at-arms 

Come clattering down the street. 

5. 
He turned to see, as on they rode 

All dight in gallant sheen : 
Then out spake he right merrily 

With cheer of voice and mien : — 

6. 
" Ha, good my cousin ! Scarce I thought 
Such welcomings to win 
As thy fair courtesy hath brought 
To greet thy kith and kin ! ^ 

7. 

*' Gramercy ! I am fain to vow 

I nevermore will roam, 

Since with such knightly guise as now, 

Ye hail the wanderer home ! " 

^ Sir Lewis Stukely, who arrested Sir Walter Raleigh on his re- 
turn from his last voyage, was his cousin. 



34 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

8. 
Sir Lewis quickly drew his blade, 

As from his steed he sprang, 
And on his kinsman's shoulder laid 

Its weight with sudden clang. 

9. 

He gave no greet, but on the ear 
His words did sharply ring : 
" Sir Walter, I arrest thee here 
By mandate of the King / " 

10. 

" What hath he done ? " the boy Carew 
Flashed forth with angry frown ; 
And from his father's shoulder drew 
The naked weapon down. 

11. 
" ' What hath he done ? ' Why, treason's taint 
Hung o'er his head of old ; 
And he hath failed, though thrice he sailed, 
To find the mine of gold ; 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 35 

12. 
" And sheer against the King's commands, 
Who craves all grace of Spain, 
He left on Orinoco's sands 
Full fifty Spaniards slain. 

13. 

" Nay ! peace ! What if they were the first 
To fall upon thy crew ? 
The scant pretence of such defence 
Is weak to bear thee through ! " 

14. 

" Would God I were a man ! I trow 
My hand a thrust should deal," — 
Out spake Carew, — " and thou shouldst know 
The temper of my steel ! " 

15. 
" Tush, boy ! " Sir Lewis jeered in wrath, 
" Let go thy puny wrest ! 
By Heaven ! the fledgling eaglet hath 
The daring of the nest ! 



36 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

16. 
" Ho, forward, sturdy musketeers ! 
Aside the stripling fling ! 
Bold lad be he who interferes 
With orders from the King ! " 

17. 

And ere Sir Walter turned about. 

And ere the truth he wist, 
They drew the linked iron out. 

And clasped it on his wrist. 

18. 
" Have off with him ! Beshrew me, how 
Young malapert doth frown ! 
But minding of his mother now 
Will cool his courage down ! " 

19. 

" Sir Lewis ! " — and the boy Carew 
Fast clenched his fist, — " thy son 
Will blush with shame, some day, to name 
The deed which thou hast done ! " 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 37 



III. 



1. 

'T was midnight : but in Plymouth yet 

Went on the wassail-bout ; 
The early moon was just a-set, 

And all the stars were out ; 

2. 

When at Sir Walter's prison-bars 

A muffled tap was heard : 
And as his ear was bent to hear, 

He caught the whispered word : 

3. 

" Haste, father, haste ! the way is clear ; 
I Ve bribed the seneschal ; 
The warder o'er the henchmen's beer 
Keeps riot in the hall. 



" I hold the key that opes the gates, 
And at the water-stair. 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 

In the moored barge, my mother waits, - 
She waits to meet thee there. 

5. 

'^ Quick, father ! catch thy doublet up, 
Without a moment's stay : 
Before they drain their latest cup 
We must be far away. 

6. 

" Outside the bar a galley lies, 
And ere the sun doth glance 
Its earliest beam across the skies 
We shall be safe in France." 

7. 
" Ah, boy ! my boy ! my brave Carew ! 
Why tempt thy father so ? 
I — loyal, conscience-clear, and true, — 
What need have 7 to go ? 

8. 
" My traitorous foes, once trusted friends. 
Would be the first to say 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 39 

I flout the laws and flee, because 
I am as false as they." 

9. 

" Yet, father, come ! Foul threats they bring, 
Dark counsels they have planned ; 
And justice thou shalt never wring 
From cold King James's hand ! 

10. 

" My mother at the water's brink 
Waits, all her fears awake ; 
And if escape should fail — I think — 
I think her heart would break ! " 

11. 

Too much ! His bravery shrank to meet 

The weight of such a blow ; 
And springing instant to his feet, 

He answered, " I will go ! " 

12. 

They groped adown the stony hall ; 
They found the door unbarred ; 



40 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

And in the shadow of the wall 
They crossed the prison-yard. 

13. 
With stealthy steps they reached the shore, 

And on its rapid way, 
The boat, with softly-dipping oar, 

Dropped down the silent bay. 



IV. 

1. 

Across the starlit stream they steal 

Without one uttered word ; 
The waters gurgling at the keel 

Was all the sound they heard. 

2. 

The good French bark that soon would bear 
Them hence, lay full in view ; 
" An oar's length more, and we are there / " 
Whispered the boy Carew. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 41 

3. 

They rocked within its shadow. Then 

Sir Walter, under breath, 
First spoke, and kissed and kissed again 

Lady Elizabeth. 

4. 

" Nay, Bess, it must not, shall not be. 
Whatever others can, 
That I should like a dastard flee, 
For fear of mortal man ! 

5. 

" All Orinoco's mines of gold. 
All virgin realms I claim. 
Are less to me a thousand-fold 
Than my untarnished name. 

6. 

" Put back the boat ! Nay, sweet, no moan ! 
Thy love is so divine 
That thou wouldst rather die than own 
A craven heart were mine ! 



42 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

7. 
" My purse, good oarsman ! Pull thy best, 
And we may make the shore. 
Before the latest trencher-guest 
Has left the warder's door. 

8. 
" Hist ! not one other pleading word : 

Life were not worth a groat, 
If breath of shame could blur my name : 
Put back ! put back the boat ! 

9. 

" Ah, Bess 1 . . . (she is too stunned to hear !) 
But thou, my boy, Carew, 
Shalt pledge thy vow, even here and now, 
That faithful, tried, and true ; 

10. 
" Thou It choose, whatever stress may rise, 
Whilst thou hast life and breath, 
Before temjptation^ sacrifice ; 
Before dishonor^ death ! " 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 43 



V. 



1. 

The boatman turned ; he dared not bide, 

Nor say Sir Walter nay ; 
And with his oars against the tide, 

He labored up the bay. 

2. 

And when beside the water-stair, 
With grief no words can tell, 

They braced themselves at length to bear 
The wrench of the farewell ; 



The boy, with proud yet tearful eyes, 
Kept murmuring under breath, 
" Before temptation, sacrifice ; 
Bef(yre dishonor^ death ! " 



44 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



THE LAST MEETING OF POCAHONTAS AND 
THE GREAT CAPTAIN.^ 

A. D. 1616. 

In a stately hall at Brentford, when the English June 

was green, 
Sat the Indian Princess, summoned that her graces might 

be seen, 
For the rumor of her beauty filled the ear of court and 

Queen. 

There for audience as she waited, with half-scornful, silent 
air. 

All undazzled by the splendor gleaming round her every- 
where, 

Dight in broidered hose and doublet, came a courtier 
down the stair. 

^A reference to this interview between the "Lady Rebecca" 
and Captain John Smith may be found in Smith's Triie Relation 
of Virginia. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 45 

As with striding step he hasted, burdened with the 

Queen's command, 
Loud he cried, in tones that tingled, " Welcome^ welcome 

to my land ! " 
But a tremor seized the Princess, and she drooped upon 

her hand. 

" What ! no word, my Sparkling-Water ? ^ Must I come 

on bended knee ? 
I were slain within the forest, I were dead beyond the 

sea; 
On the banks of wild Pamunkey, I had perished hut for 

thee, 

" Ah, I keep a heart right loyal, that can never more 

forget ! 
I can hear the rush, the breathing ; I can see the eyelids 

wet; 
I can feel the sudden tightening of thine arms about me 

yet. 

" Nay, look up. Thy father's daughter never feared the 
face of man, 

^ The signification of the word Pocahontas. 



46 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

Shrank not from the forest darkness when her doe-like 
footsteps ran 

To my cabin, bringing tidings of the craft of Powha- 
tan." 

With extended arms, entreating, stood the stalwart Cap- 
tain there. 

While the courtiers press around her, and the passing 
pages stare ; 

But no sign gave Pocahontas underneath her veil of hair. 

All her lithe and willowy figure quivered like an aspen- 
leaf, 

And she crouched as if she shrivelled, frost-touched by 
some sudden grief. 

Turning only on her husband, Rolfe, one glance, sharp, 
searching, brief. 

At the Captain's haughty gesture, back the curious cour- 
tiers fell, 

And with soothest word and accent he besought that she 
would tell 

Why she turned away, nor greeted him whom she had 
served so well. 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 47 

But for two long hours the Princess dumbly sate and 

bowed her head, 
Moveless as the statue near her. When at last she spake, 

she said : 
" White man's tongue is false. It told me — told me — 

that my brave was dead. 

" And I lay upon my deer-skins all one moon of falling 

leaves, 
(Who hath care for song or corn-dance, when the voice 

within her grieves ?) 
Looking westward where the souls go, up the path the 

sunset weaves. 

" Call me ' child ' now. It is over. On my husband's 

arm I lean ; 
Never shadow, Nenemoosa, our twain hearts shall come 

between ; 
Take my hand, and let us follow the great Captain to his 

Queen.'' 



48 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



THE FIRST THANKSGIVING DAY. 

A. D. 1622. 

"And now," said the Governor, gazing abroad on the 

piled-up store 
Of the sheaves that dotted the clearings and covered the 

meadows o'er, 
" 'T is meet that we render praises because of this yield 

of grain; 
'Tis meet that the Lord of the Harvest be thanked for 

His sun and rain. 

" And therefore, I, William Bradford, (by the grace of 
God to-day, 

And the franchise of this good people,) Governor of Ply- 
mouth, say. 

Through virtue of vested power — ye shall gather with 
one accord. 

And hold, in the month November, thanksgiving unto 
the Lord. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 49 

" He hath granted us peace and plenty, and the quiet 
we Ve sought so long ; 

He hath thwarted the wily savage, and kept him from 
wrack and wrong ; 

And unto our feast the Sachem shall he hidden, that he 
may know 

We worship his own Great Spirit who maketh the har- 
vests grow. 

" So shoulder your matchlocks, masters : there is hunting 

of all degrees ; 
And fishermen, take your tackle, and scour for spoil the 

seas; 
And maidens and dames of Plymouth, your delicate crafts 

employ 
To honor our First Thanksgiving, and make it a feast 

of joy ! 

" We fail of the fruits and dainties — we fail of the old 

home cheer ; 
Ah, these are the lightest losses, mayhap, that hefall us 

here ; 
But see, in our open clearings, how golden the melons lie ; 
Enrich them with sweets and spices, and give us the 

pumpkin-pie ! " 



50 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

So, bravely the preparations went on for the autumn feast ; 
The deer and the bear were slaughtered ; wild game from 

the greatest to least 
Was heaped in the colony cabins ; brown home-brew 

served for wine, 
And the plum and the grape of the forest, for orange and 

peach and pine. 

At length came the day appointed : the snow had begun 

to fall, 
But the clang from the meeting-house belfry rang merrily 

over all, 
And summoned the folk of Plymouth, who hastened with 

glad accord 
To listen to Elder Brewster as he fervently thanked the 

Lord. 

In his seat sate Governor Bradford ; men, matrons, and 

maidens fair ; 
Miles Standish and all his soldiers, with corselet and 

sword, were there ; 
And sobbing and tears and gladness had each in its turn 

the sway. 
For the grave of the sweet Rose Standish o'ershadowed 

Thanksgiving-Day. 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 61 

And when Massasoit, the Sachem, sate down with his 

hundred braves, 
And ate of the varied riches of gardens and woods and 

waves, 
And looked on the granaried harvest, — with a blow on 

his brawny chest, 
He muttered, " The good Great Spirit loves His white 

children best ! " 



62 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



THE PRICE OF A LITTLE PILGRIM. 

A. D. 1621. 

" Go, wind the signal-horn, and hid 
My hand of trusty men 
Come stern and grim, in fighting trim, 
That I may choose me ten. 

" They may not wait to kiss their wives, 
For there 's a life at cost, — 
A tender one, — the widow's son, 
Ralph Billington, is lost : 

" The pretty lad that often drew 
My sword, and vowed that yet 
He 'd march away some summer day 
And capture Aspinet." 

So spake the Plymouth Governor, 
And at the signal sound 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 63 

Forth came the band at his command, 
And crowded eager round. 

"Ten only," Governor Bradford said, 
"Will fill the boat enow ; 
I want but ten strong-handed men, 
Now which of you will go ? " 

They shouted, " I ! " and " I ! " and " I ! " 

" Nay, hold ! " he bade, " I 'U find 
Some Gideon-test to mark the best ; 
The rest shall bide behind. 

" Ye who are fathers, — ye whose homes 
Are glad with children's joy, — 
Your quest, I wot, will slacken not, 
Till ye have found the boy." 

The shallop manned, they searched the coast, 

They beat the tangled wild ; 
And sought to trace, in many a place. 

Some tidings of the child. 

They steered through silent, sheltered coves, 
They skimmed the marshes wide ; 



64 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

And all around the shallows wound, 
With Squanto ^ for their guide. 

At length they saw a curl of smoke 

Float o'er the distant trees ; 
And all about, the whoop and shout 

Came blown upon the breeze. 

Scarce had they landed, when the cry 

Of " Yengese / " ^ rent the air ; 
And even before they touched the shore 

The foe was yelling there, 

Each with his arrow drawn to head : 
*' Stay ! stay ! " cried Squanto, " let 

True braves be friends : our Sachem sends 
To you his calumet. 

" The mother in her wigwam weeps. 
Bereft of peace and joy ; 
Now we would know if it be so 
That ye have found her boy." 

^ One of the earliest friends of the Plymouth Colony. 

^ The Indian term for the English, and the original of Yankees. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 55 

" Ugh ! " growled the wily Aspinet ; 
" What will the Yengese grant, 
If I set loose the white papoose, 
And bring him from Nahant ? " 

" Name what ye will," the Captain cried, 
" So much we prize his life ! " 
The vSachem heard, and with brief word 
Muttered, " A knife ! a knife I " 

" Good ! " and the Captain grimly smiled 
Aside : " And yet I trow 
The dame will be scarce pleased that we 
Should rate her boy so low ! 

" Go, Squanto, hither fetch the lad ; 
And lest it will not do, 
For one jack-knife to buy a life, 
Why, Squanto, give him two ! " 



66 COLONIAL BALLADS, 



THE FIRST PROCLAMATION OF MILES 
STANDISH. 

November, A. D. 1620. 

" Ho, Rose ! " quoth the stout Miles Standish, 
As he stood on the Mayflower's deck, 
And gazed on the sandy coast-line * 

That loomed as a misty speck 

On the edge of the distant offing, — 

" See ! yonder we have in view 
Bartholomew Gosnold's ' headlands.' 

'T was in sixteen hundred and two 

" That the Concord of Dartmouth anchored 
Just there where the beach is broad, 
And the merry old captain named it 

(Half swamped by the fish) — Cape Cod. 

" And so as his mighty * headlands ' 
Are scarcely a league away, 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 67 

What say you to landing, sweetheart, 
And having a washing-day ? 

" For did not the mighty Leader 
Who guided the chosen band 
Pause under the peaks of Sinai, 
And issue his strict command — 

" (For even the least assoilment 
Of Egypt the spirit loathes) — 
Or ever they entered Canaan, ^ 

The people should wash their clothes ? 

" The land we have left is noisome, 
And rank with the smirch of sin ; 
The land that we seek should find us 
Clean-vestured without and within." 

" Dear heart " — and the sweet Rose Standish 
Looked up with a tear in her eye ; 
She was back in the flag-stoned kitchen 
Where she watched, in the days gone by, 

Her mother among her maidens, 

(She should watch them no more, alas !) 



58 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

And saw as they stretched the linen 
To bleach on the Suffolk grass. 

In a moment her brow was cloudless, 
As she leaned on the vessel's rail, 

And thought of the sea-stained garments, 
Of coif and of farthingale ; 

And the doublets of fine Welsh flannel, 
The tuckers and homespun gowns, 

And the piles of the hosen knitted 
From the wool of the Devon downs. 

So the matrons aboard the Mayflower 
Made ready with eager hand 

To drop from the deck their baskets 
As soon as the prow touched land. 

And there did the Pilgrim Mothers, 
" On a Monday," the record says. 

Ordain for their new-found England 
The first of her washing-days. 

And there did the Pilgrim Fathers, 
With matchlock and axe well slung. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 59 

Keep guard o'er the smoking kettles 
That propt on the crotches hung. 

For the trail of the startled savage 

Was over the marshy grass, 
And the glint of his eyes kept peering 

Through cedar and sassafras. 

And the children were mad with pleasure 
As they gathered the twigs in sheaves, 

And piled on the fire the fagots, 
And heaped up the autumn leaves. 

" Do the thing that is next," saith the proverb, 
And a nobler shall yet succeed : — 
'T is the motive exalts the action ; 
'T is the doing, and not the deed ; 

For the earliest act of the heroes 
Whose fame has a world-wide sway 

Was — to fashion a crane for a kettle, 
And order a washing-day ! 



60 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



ST. BOTOLPH'S CHIMES. 

A. D. 1640. 

A Puritan and his little daughter speak on their churchward way. 

" O FATHER, I wish I could go to church 
As we did in the dear old times, 
When we waited to hear the Sunday cheer 
Of St. Botolph's morning chimes ! 

" 'T was lovely to walk through leafy lanes 
In the beautiful English May ; 
And I marvel now, as I think of it, how 
You ever could come away. 

" I want to go back to my oaken seat, 
Where the great round oriel shed 
Its crimsons and blues and golden hues, 
All over my hands and head. 

" As I watched their glory, the service seemed 
So holy and rich and bright ! 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 61 

How tender the glow beside this snow, 
All sheeted and dead and white ! 

" And the carbines, father, — they only hung, 
At home, in the great oak hall : 
Here, we take them abroad to the house of God, 
Yet shiver with fear, for all ! 

" Oh, to mix with the crowd in the dear old street, 
In safety and warmth and ease ! 
Oh, to wait for the swells of St. Botolph's bells, 
In Boston beyond the seas ! " 

" Nay, daughter ! it irks my heart to hear 
Thee hanker, as those of old. 
With tears on thy cheeks, for Egyptian leeks, 
Because thou art scared and cold. 

" Why, where is the hero-spirit, child ? 
Thy mother forsook her Devon 
For an exile here, with a trust as clear 
As if she were going to Heaven I 

" Yea, over thy face the oriePs glint 
Might shimmer with warming glow ; 



62 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

But for me the touch of the priestly clutch 
Was chiller than Shawmut's ^ snow ! 

" I *m willing to fight for leave to pray, 
And wade with my carbine slung 
On my shoulder, and so all chimes forego 
St. Botolph hath ever rung, 

" To carry thee thus to the church to-day, 
As stoutly my strong arm can, 
And order my faith as my conscience saith, 
A free and a fearless man ! 

" But sweetheart ! patiently thou must wait. 
For I dream of an end of pains. 
In which thou shalt walk in tender talk, 
Through better than English lanes, 

" With comrades as kind as ever strayed 
Beside thee o'er Lincoln leas. 
Or listened betimes to St. Botolph's chimes, 
In Boston beyond the seas ! " 

^ The Indian name of the peninsida on which Boston is built. 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 63 



THE PURITAN MAIDEN'S MAY-DAY. 

A. D. 1686. 

Ah, well-a-day ! The grandams say- 
That they had merry times 

When they were young, and gayly rung 
The May-day morning chimes. 

Before the dark was gone, the lark 

Had left her grassy nest, 
And, soaring high, set all the sky 

Athrob from east to west ! 

The hawthorn-bloom with rich perfume 

Was whitening English lanes. 
The dewy air was everywhere 

Alive with May-day strains ; 

And laughing girls with tangled curls, 
And eyes that gleamed and glanced, 



64 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

And ruddy boys with mirth and noise, 
Around the May-pole danced. 

Ah me ! the sight of such delight, 

The joy, the whirl, the din, 
Such merriment, such glad content, — 

How could it be a sin ? 

When children crowned the May-pole round 

With daisies from the sod. 
What was it, pray, but their child's way 

Of giving thanks to God ? 

The wild bee sups from buttercups 

The honey at the brim : 
May I not take their buds and make 

A posy up for Him ? 

If, as I pass knee-deep through grass 
This May-day cool and bright, 

And see away on Boston Bay 
The lines of shimmering light, 

I gather there great bunches fair 
Of May-flower as I roam. 



COLON,! AL BALLADS. 65 

And with them round my forehead crowned, 
Go ladened with them home : 

And then, if Bess and I should dress 

A May-pole with our wreath, 
And just for play, this holiday. 

Should dare to dance beneath, 

My father's brow would frown enow : 

" Child ! why hast thou a mind 
For Popish days and Romish ways, 

And lusts we 've left behind ? " 

Our grandam says that her May-days, 

With mirth, and song, and flowers. 
And lilt of rhymes and village chimes. 

Were happier far than ours. 

If, as I ween, upon the green 

She danced with merry din, 
Yet lived to be the saint I see, 

How can I count it sin ? 



66 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



LADY YEARDLEY'S GUEST. 

1654. 

'T WAS a Saturday night, mid-winter, 

And the snow with its sheeted pall 
Had covered the stubbled clearings 

That girdled the rude-built " Hall." 
But high in the deep-mouthed chimney, 

'Mid laughter and shout and din, 
The children were piling yule-logs 

To welcome the Christmas in. 

^ Ah, so ! We '11 be glad to-morrow,'* 

The mother half-musing said. 
As she looked at the eager workers. 

And laid on a sunny head 
A touch as of benediction, — 

" For Heaven is just as near 
The father at far Patuxent 

As if he were with us here. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 67 

" So choose ye the pine and hoUy, 

And shake from their boughs the snow ; 
We '11 garland the rough-hewn rafters 

As they garlanded long ago, — 
Or ever Sir George went sailing ^ 

Away o'er the wild sea-foam, — 
In my beautiful EngHsh Sussex, 

The happy old walls at home." 

She sighed. As she paused, a whisper 

Set quickly all eyes astrain : 
" See 1 See ! " — and the boy's hand pointed — 

" There 's a face at the window pane ! " 
One instant a ghastly terror 

Shot sudden her features o'er ; 
The next, and she rose unblenching, 

And opened the fast-barred door. 

" Who be ye that seek admission ? 
Who Cometh for food and rest ? 
This night is a night above others 
To shelter a straying guest." 

1 Sir George Yeardley, Governor of the Colony of Virginia, in 
1626. 



68 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

Deep out of the snowy silence 
A guttural answer broke : 
" I come from the great Three Elvers, 
I am chief of the Roanoke." 

Straight in through the frightened children, 

Unshrinking, the red man strode, 
And loosed on the blazing hearthstone, 

From his shoulder, a light-borne load ; 
And out of the pile of deer-skins. 

With look as serene and mild 
As if it had been his cradle. 

Stepped softly a four-year child. 

As he chafed at the fire his fingers, 

Close pressed to the brawny knee, 
The gaze that the silent savage 

Bent on him was strange to see ; 
And then, with a voice whose yearning 

The father could scarcely stem, 
He said, to the children pointing, 

" I want him to be like them I 

" They weep for the boy in the wigwam : 
I bring him, a moon of days. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 

To learn of the speaking paper ; 

To hear of the wiser ways 
Of the people heyond the water ; 

To break with the plough the sod ; 
To be kind to papoose and woman ; 

To pray to the white man's God." 

" I give thee my hand ! " And the lady 

Pressed forward with sudden cheer ; 

" Thou shalt eat of my Enghsh pudding, 

And drink of my Christmas beer. — 

My darlings, this night, remember 

All strangers are kith and kin, — 
This night when the dear Lord's Mother 
Could find no room at the inn ! " 

Next morn from the colony belfry 

Pealed gayly the Sunday chime, 
And merrily forth the people 

Flocked, keeping the Christmas time ; 
And the lady, with bright-eyed children 

Behind her, their lips a-smile, 
And the chief in his skins and wampum, 

Came walking the narrow aisle. 



70 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

Forthwith from the congregation 

Broke fiercely a sullen cry ; 
" Out ! out ! with the crafty red-shin ! 

Have at him I A spy I A spy ! " 
And quickly from belts leaped daggers, 

And swords from their sheaths flashed bare, 
And men from their seats defiant 

Sprang, ready to slay him there. 

But facing the crowd with courage 

As calm as a knight of yore, 
Stepped bravely the fair-browed woman 

The thrust of the steel before ; 
And spake with a queenly gesture. 

Her hand on the chief's brown breast : 
" Ye dare not impeach my honor ! 

Ye dare not insult my guest ! " 

They dropped, at her word, their weapons, 
Half-shamed as the lady smiled. 

And told them the red man's story, 
And showed them the red man's child; 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 71 

And pledged them her broad plantations, 

That never would such betray 
The trust that a Christian woman 

Had shown on a Christmas-Day ! 



72 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



THE QUEEN OF PAMUNKEY.^ 

A. D. 1676. 

" What ! Ho ! " Sir William Berkeley cried, with hot, 

impetuous air. 
As scowlingly his seat he took within the Governor's chair ; 
" She comes, forsooth, with savage state, to make the 

Council stare. 

" Commend a woman for her wiles ! We English never 

can 
(She knows it well,) as gruffly deal with woman as with 

man ; 
And so she thinks to cozen us with some deceitful plan. 

" Well, bid the burgesses to place, and let this Queen ap- 
pear, — 

^ Pamunkey was a district lying between the York River and the 
James. Sir William Berkeley was Governor of the colony of Vir- 
ginia from 1641 to 1677. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 73 

This Cleopatra of the woods, — in all her feathered gear : 
And yet, mayhap, the aid I Ve asked, she comes to say, 
is near." 

The words were on Sir William's lip, when wide the door 

was flung. 
And up the chamber strode the Queen, her band of braves 

among, 
The " wampum-peak " of sovereignty about her forehead 

strung. 

A silver frontlet crowned her brow. King Charles's gift to 

her, 
And close about her stately form was wrapped a robe of 

fur. 
Whose fringe of shells at every step shook with a tinkling 

stir. 

Beside her walked a slender boy. "My son," she proudly 

said, — 
" The chief of broad Pamunkey's lands, which now ye 

hold instead, 

m 

Snatched from him, since the King, whose word once 
ruled them all, is dead." 



74 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

" Now hold ! " Sir William stoutly clashed. " Have you 

naught else to tell 
Than that stale story of the wrongs we Ve learned to know 

so well ? 
Betwixt us and the setting sun your tribes have room to 

dweU." 

She strained the deer-skin round her form with a right 

regal mien, 
As though it were a purple robe and she a crowned 

Queen, 
And stepped before the dais, and spake with accent bold 

and keen : — 

" Yea, room enough : then wherefore wrest our lands, as 

ye have done, 
And sow with wheat our hunting-grounds, and level one 

by one 
Our forests ? Let the palerface go, and seek the setting 

sun! 

" Ye basely snared and slew my chief. The boy I lead 
to-day 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 75 

Is but the broken arrow-shaft, whose head is 'wrenched 

away : 
I would his arm were strong enough to strike, and scalp, 

and slay ! 

" Yet ye — ye stoop to ask my aid against your fiercer 

foes ; 
With craven lures ye bribe my braves their purpose to 

disclose : 
I tell you that my warriors wait to slay the first who 

goes ! " 

She faced the Council with a scorn too stern to ask re- 
dress ; 

Then turned, and with her sullen train adown the hall 
did press. 

"Good lack!" Sir William growled, "I vow she flaunts 
it like Queen Bess ! 

" And yet without her tribe to aid, I 'm fain to use 

delay. 
And watch these whooping savages make inroads day 

by day. 
Whilst I, bereft of succor, see my mastery melt away. 



76 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

" I 've held for more than thirty years the royal Gov- 
ernor's chair ; 

I '11 hold it to the hloody end, as here and now, I swear ! 

Out on it ! Shall the Lion cower before the skulking 
Bear?" 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 77 



DORRIS' SPINNING. 

A. D. 1740. 

She sat at the upper chamber, — 't was a summer of 

long ago, — 
And looked through the gable window at the river that 

ran below. 
And over the quiet pastures, and up at the wide blue sky. 
And envied the jay his freedom as he lazily flitted by. 

Yet patiently at her spinning, in a halo of happy light. 
She wrought, though a shimmer rippled the heads of the 

wheat in sight, — 
Though the garden was spilling over its cups on the 

fragrant day. 
And the hollyhocks at the doorway had never looked 

half so gay. 

She saw, as her wheel kept whirling, the leisure of Na- 
ture, too, — 
The beautiful holiday weather left nothing for her to do : 



78 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

The cattle were idly grazing, and even the frisky sheep, 
Away in the distant meadows, lay under the shade 
asleep. 

So sitting, she heard sweet laughter, and a bevy of maid- 
ens fair, 

With babble of merry voices, came climbing the chamber 
stair : — 

" O Dorris ! how can you bear it, to drone at your spin- 
ning here ? 

Why, girl ! it 's the heart of summer, the goldenest time 
of year ! 

" Put out of your hand the distaff, this wearisome whirl 

relax, — 
There are things that are gayer, Dorris, than sitting and 

spinning flax : 
Come with us away to the forest ; when it rains is the 

time to ply 
Such tiresome tasks — and to-day is the rarest of all 

July ! " 

With a face that was softly saddened, sweet Dorris 
looked up and said. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 79 

As she ravelled a bit of tangle, and twisted again her 

thread : — 
" Nay, nay, I must do my spinning ! it would n't be kind 

or right 
That the loom should be kept a-waiting ; my hanks must 

be done to-night. 

" Ay, surely, the day is lovely ! It tugs at my very 

heart 
To look at its drifting beauty, nor share in its joy my 

part: 
I may not go forth to meet it, but the summer is kind, 

you see, 
And I think, as I sit at my spinning — I think it will 

come to me ! " 



So the frolicsome maidens left her, with something of 

mild surprise 
That Dorris should choose a duty, with pleasure before 

her eyes ; 
Not dreaming that when her mother her "dozens" should 

count up-stairs. 
And kiss her, and say, " My darling I " her day would 

be glad as theirs. 



80 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

So she minded her wheel, and blithely she sang as she 

twirled it round, 
And cunningly from her fingers the delicate fibre wound ; 
And on through the sunny hours, that neither were sad 

nor long, 
She toiled, in her sweet obedience, and lightened her toil 

with song ; — 

\_She sings.'] 
" Come hither, happy birds, 

With warbling woo me, 
Till songs that have no words 

Melt through and through me ! 
Come, bees, that drop and rise 

Within the clover. 
Where yellow butterflies 

Go glancing over ! 
O roses, red and white, 

And lilies, shining 
Like gilded goblets bright 

With silver lining, — 
Each to my window send 

Gifts worth the winning, 
To cheer me as I bend 

Above my spinning ! 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 81 

" O ripples on the sand, 

That break in beauty ; 
O pines that stiffly stand 

Like guards on duty ; 
Green meadows, where this morn 

The scythes were mowing ; 
Soft slopes, where o'er the corn 

The wind is blowing ; 
White clouds above the hill, 

That sail together ; 
Eich summer scents, that fill 

This summer weather, — 
All bring the sweets you 've found 

Since morn's beginning. 
And come and crowd them round 

My day of spinning ! " 



82 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



FAST-DAY SPORT. 

A. D. 1648. 

" Shame, shame upon ye, godless lads, 

To take your matchlocks down, 
And to the forest hie for game, 

When all the folk in town 
Were gathered in the meeting-house. 

In Sabbath garb arrayed. 
To fast and pray this solemn day. 

As Governor Winthrop bade ! 

" Ye think, perchance, I failed to mark 

Some empty places there : 
Nay, nay, I do my duty, lads. 

Though ye may mock and stare. 
I ween, despite your many smirks, 

When all is said and done, 
Ye '11 think the hare ye dangle there 

Was hardly worth the fun. 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 83 

" I Ve copied fair your names, young sirs, 

' Trespass — one shilling nine ' — 
And governor's grandsons though ye be, 

I wot ye 'U pay the fine ; 
It should be doubled for the sin 

Of such example set ; 
I 'm sorely sad a Boston lad 

So strangely could forget. 

" Ye did not ? Ha ! the bold offence 

Was a deliberate one ? 
Ye meant to scout the Fast-Day, when 

Ye went with dog and gun ? 
Out on such worldly lawlessness I 

Ye well deserve to be 
Left in the lurch with King and Church 

In Suffolk by the sea I 

" It ought to make the crimson shame 

Your braggart faces flood, 

When ye remember that your veins 

Are warm with Winthrop blood ! 
Now had ye been Sir Harry's chicks, 
To do and dare with such 



84 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

Pert looks as send my hair on end, 
I had not cared so much. 

" But Governor Winthrop's grandsons ! Heigh ! 

How godless folk will prate : 
' He cannot make his household keep 
The Fast-Day of the state ! ' 
Nay, do I hear aright ? Ye say 

He gave you leave to go 
To-day and track (alack ! alack !) 
The rabbits through the snow ? 

** Ye look so roguish, scarce I think 

Ye mean the word ye spake ; 
But since ye 've dared with bold affront 

The righteous law to break, 
Though even the Governor's self forget 

His bound en duty, — mine 
Is clear : Ye 11 pay this very day 

Each farthing of your fine I '* 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 85 



GREENWAY COURT. 

A. D. 1748. 

Lord Fairfax sat before the fire, 

Within his forest hall, 
Where antlers wide on every side 

Hung branching from the walL 

Around the casements howled the wind. 

The snow was falling deep, 
And at his feet, crouched in the heat. 

His stag-hounds lay asleep. 

They heard a horse's hoofs without, 

Above the wintry roar, 
And with a bay they sprang away 

To guard the opening door ; 

And if their master had not chid. 
With instant word and frown. 



86 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

They quick had met with fierce onset 
The guest, and dragged him down. 

" Shame ! Shame ! Prince Charles ! " Lord Fairfax cried ; 
" Off, Berkeley ! With such sport, 
No friend, I trow, we welcome so 
Who comes to Greenway Court." 

He eyed the stripling, straight and tall ; 

He marked his stalwart frame ; 
And with a rare and knightly air. 

He questioned of his name. 

" Why, you are hut a lad," he said, 
" And wherefore should you roam 
So far away, this wintry day. 
From all the sweets of home ? 

" At Greenway Court I dwell alone, 
A soured and saddened man ; 
With leave to find far from my kind 
Such solace as I can. 

" But you, — why hreak away so soon. 
And all youth's joys forego 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 81 

To seek the work a man might shirk, 
And miss your boyhood so ? 

" Yes, I have acres without count. 
That needs must be surveyed ; 
But what can you, a stripling, do 
With none beside to aid ? " 

The boy's blue eyes shot steel-like clear ; 

And from his forehead fair, 
Fresh with the sheen of scarce sixteen, 

He shook his Saxon hair : — 

" I am a widow's son," he said — 

Proud were his look and tone — 
" The staff and stay, I dare to say, 

My mother calls her own. 

" With rod and chain I mean to walk 
The wilds without a dread ; 
God's care, I 'm sure, wiU keep secure 
The boy who wins his bread." 

" Ay, will He so ! " Lord Fairfax cried, 
"And ere my days are done, 



88 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

God wot, I '11 hear some word of cheer 
About this widow's son. 

" But now forget your rod and chain, 
For, on the morrow morn, 
We '11 be away by dawn of day, 
With huntsman, hound, and horn. 

" What ! ' Know no woodcraft ? Never brought 
A pair of antlers down ? ' 
Is that the way they rear to-day 
The lads within the town ? 

" As sure as Shenandoah flows 
In front of Greenway Court, 
I promise you a buck or two 
Shall grace your maiden sport" 



The Christmas hunt was o'er. The hearth 
Blazed bright with knots of pine. 

And host and guest, with whetted zest, 
Before it supped their wine. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 89 

" Right merry sport we 've had to-day ; 
And now, if any bid 
Tell who " (he laughed) " taught you woodcraft, 
Why, say, ' Lord Fairfax did/ " 

He called a huntsman : " Saddle Duke, 

Without a moment's loss. 
And lift, and lay, as best you may. 

That fattest buck across ; 

" And straight to Alexandria bear 
The message : That her son 
Sends his first sport from Greenway Court 
To Mistress Washington" ^ 

1 Thomas, Lord Fairfax, after a love disappointment that em- 
bittered his life, retired to his boundless acres on the Shenandoah, 
and there bnilt " Greenway Court," where he lived in rude baronial 
style. He was always fond of saying that he had taught George 
Washington, when a lad, to hunt. 



90 COLONIAL BALLADS. 



THE BOYS' REDOUBT. 
October, A. D. 1775. 

In continental Buff-and-Blue, 

With lappets richly laced, 
Beneath the shade the elm-trees made, 

A martial figure paced. 

Along the sluggish Charles's banks 

He bent at length his way, 
Just as the gun, at set of sun. 

Went booming o'er the Bay. 

His soul was racked with doubt and strife, 
Despondence gloomed his eye ; 

He needs must bear his weight of care 
Out to the open sky. 

The breeze that flapped his soldier's cloak, 
The woods so broad and dim, 



COLONIAL BALLADS, 91 

The tides whose sway no bonds could stay, 
All seemed so free to him ! 

Yet the young nation that had wrung, 

Beyond the angry seas, 
From savage grace, a refuge-place, 

To pray as they might please, — 

Must it be hounded from its haunts ? 

Be fettered at the stake ? 
Be forced again to wear the chain 

It risked its all to break ? 

His step grew heavier with the thought, 

His lips less firm were set : 
It could not be that such as he 

Must yield ! — and yet — and yet — 

How could they even hope to win 

A single fight, in lack 
Of everything, while England's king 

Had Europe at his back ? 

Thus musing sad beside the Charles, 
He saw the Cambridge boys, 



92 COLONIAL BALLADS, 

An eager band, pile up the sand 
With roar of riot noise. 

" Ha ! lads, what do you here ? " he said, 

Arrested by their shout. 
" What do we here ? Why, give us cheer ; 

We 're building a redoubt ! 

" Who knows how soon Lord Howe may come. 
And all his lion cubs. 
With growls and snarls, straight up the Charles, 
In his old British tubs ? 

" And creeping from them in the dark. 
As quiet as a mouse. 
Now what if they should snatch away, 
Right out of ' Vassal House,' ^ 

" Our new-made chief ; before a man 
Has leave to fire a gun ? 
That ends it ! For there '11 be no war 
Without a Washington ! 

^ Afterwards "Craigie House," — so long the residence of the 
poet Longfellow, and at the period of this ballad, Washington's 
headquarters. 



COLONIAL BALLADS. 93 

" Our fathers' hands are filled with work ; 
Besides, they 're grieving still 
For Warren, and the gallant band 
That fell at Bunker Hill. 

" So we will help them as we can : 
You wear the Buff-and-Blue ; 
Yet we aver, we 're ready, sir. 
To fight as well as you. 

" May be you 're on the General's staff : 
Then say we Cambridge boys 
Will yell and shout from our redoubt 
With such a savage noise, 

" That all the vessels in the Bay 
Will hear the wild uproar. 
And swear again that Prescott's men 
Are lining all the shore ! " 

" Brave lads ! " the soldier said, and raisied 

The cap that hid his brow ; 
" Some day, some day, I '11 surely pay 

The debt I owe you now ! 



94 COLONIAL BALLADS. 

" Your high, heroic, mettled hearts, 
Your faith that wavers not. 
To me are more than cannon's store. 
Or tons of shell and shot. 

" What people ever fails to gain 
The patriot's dearest prize. 
When ' die or win ' is blazing in 
The very children's eyes ? 

" No need to bear the General word 
Of tasks so rich in cheer : 
He makes his due salute to you, — 
You see the General here ! " 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



THE SILENT TRYST. 

TO M. C. L. 
I. 

Now that you are in Florence, go 
To San Lorenzo. The church, you know, 
Holds Michael's miracle carved in stone, — 
The brooding figure that under the shade 
Of its monk-like cowl, severe and lone, 
Watches you till you grow afraid 

It may step from its niche, and ask you why 
You dare intrude with a curious eye 

Thus on its dusk domain of thought. 

Study the mystery there inwrought ; 
For the realm of Art, I think, will fail 

To show you a greater. Gaze your fill, 

Search for the secret, if you will, 



96 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

Until you have gotten behind the veil 
Of the palpable marble. None the less 
The cunning escapes ; and you '11 confess 

That what is the wizardry of the spell, 

Angelo's self alone could tell. 

II. 

But other than this is the reason why 
I point you to San Lorenzo. Nigh 
To its moss-grown court is a cloister wall : 

Enter and climb its stony stair, 
And the guide will show for a single paul 

The great Laurentian treasures. There, 
Mid luminous missals musk-enrolled, 
And psalters that glisten and gleam with gold. 
And manuscripts crusted with such gems 
As smother in Eastern diadems, 

Is a pair of portraits I bid you seek. 

In a vellum tome, shut face to face ; 
Laura, the lustre on her cheek 

Like a Provence rose, in its fadeless grace ; 
And Petrarch, fresh as he walked the street 

That morn in Avignon, there to meet 
His fate in the thrall of the random glance 

That held him a captive evermore. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 97 



in. 
What matter, the lady looked askance, 

In the far forgotten days of yore. 
While here, through the ages, hrow to brow, 
And lip to lip, as you see them now, 
These lovers in dreaming trance have lain ? 

If not in the flesh, one clear blue vein 
Throbbed to his touch, — if he did not dare 
Finger a strand of her flossy hair, — 

How time hath avenged him ! Here to lie, 
While over the world's unquiet life 
Swept endless trouble and change and strife ; 
To lie in such calm — his cheek close pressed 

To temples whose flush can never die, 
Her loosened tresses across his breast, 

That shall not bleach as the years go by ! 

IV. 

I wonder, when marvellous Tuscan nights 
Are a-thriU with a thousand-toned delights, 
When the sensitive silence feels the bliss, 
As the sky bends over the earth with a kiss, 
I wonder if such a witchery shed. 



98 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

Deepens on Laura's cheek the red ? 

I wonder if then a whisper stirs 
Those century-muffled lips of hers ? 
Or if you should turn to the pictured face, 

Whether a start would show its trace, 
Just as it will, if one intrude, 

Surprising a lover's solitude ? 

V. 
Well — this we know : She has need no more 
To ask the question she asked of yore — 
" Art thou tired of loving one, Petrarch ? " Nay, 
For here they are wedded in love so true, 
That for centuries yet, as for centuries through. 
Not even its shadow shall pass away. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 99 



THE BALLAD OF THE BELL-TOWER. 

" Five years ago I vowed to Heaven upon my falchion- 
blade 

To build the tower ; and to this hour my vow hath not 
been paid. 

"When from the eagle's nest I snatched my falcon- 
hearted dove, 

And in my breast shaped her a nest, safe and warm- 
lined with love, 

" Not all the bells in Christendom, if rung with fervent 

might, 
That happy day in janglings gay had told my joy aright. 

"As up the aisle my bride I led, in that triumphant 
hour, 

I ached to hear some wedding-cheer clash from the min- 
ster tower. 



100 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

" Nor chime nor tower the minster had ; so in my soul 

I sware, 
Come loss, come let, that I would set church-bells a-ring- 

ing there 

" Before a twelvemonth. But ye know what forays lamed 

the land. 
How seasons went, and wealth was spent, and all were 

weak of hand. 

" And then the yearly harvest failed ('t was when my boy 

was bom). 
But could I build while vassals filled my ears with cries 

for corn ? 

" Thereafter happed the heaviest woe, and none could 

help or save ; 
Nor was there bell to toll a knell above my Hertha's 

grave. 

"Ah, had I held my vow supreme all hinderance to 

control, 
Maybe these woes — God knows! God knows 1 — had 

never crushed my soul. 



BALLAD AND OTHER V^RSE. JlQl 

" Even now ye beg that I give o'er : ye say the scant 

supply 
Of water fails in lowland vales, and mountain-springs are 

dry. 

" ' Here be the quarried stones ' (ye grant), * skilled 

craftsmen come at call ; 
But with no more of water-store, how can we build the 

wall ? ' 

" Nay, listen : Last year's vintage crowds our cellars, tun 

on tun : 
With wealth of wine for yours and mine, dare the work 

go undone ? 

" Quick ! bring them forth, these mighty butts : let none 

be elsewhere sold ; 
And I will pay this very day their utmost worth in gold, 

" That so the mortar that cements each stone within the 

shrine, 
For her dear sake whom God did take, may all be mixed 

with wine." 



102 BALLAD 4^^D OTHER VERSE. 

'T was thus the baron built his tower ; and, as the story 

tells, 
A fragrance rare bewitched the air whene'er they rang 

the bells. 

A merrier music tinkled down when harvest-days were 
long: 

They seemed to chime at vintage-time a catch of vintage- 
song; 

And when the vats were foamed with must, if any loitered 

near 
The minster tower at vesper hour, above him he would 

hear 

Tinglings as of subsiding thrills, athwart the purple gloom, 
And every draught of air he quaffed, would taste of vine- 
yard bloom. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 103 



THE LAKE AMONG THE HILLS. 



I KNOW a lake among the hills, 

Serene and bright and full and free ; 

Unfed by any mountain rills, 
And with no outlet to the sea : 
And yet I marvel if there be 

Found anywhere through all the land, 
So gold and jewel-rimmed a cup 

As Nature with her Hebe hand, 

Here brims, and, kneeling, offers up. 

n. 
Its molten surface gives the sky 

Its softest sapphire beauty back ; 
And when the storm comes scudding by. 

Dark with its might of thunder-wrack, 

Although its blue be tinged with black, 
The tempest has no power to dash 

The creamy swell against the shore, 



104 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

Nor with defiant onset lash 
The ripple to a sullen roar. 

in. 
From secret sources stowed away 

Beneath its own sweet water, flows 
The unseen strength that day by day, 

Keeps it in such supreme repose 

As never shallow current shows. 
Its edges flash with tenderest green 

That lures from far the hungry herds, 
And midst its stooping copse are seen 

The nests of thousand brooding birds. 

IV. 

Oh, for a nature like the lake's 
Agleam amid our summer hills ! 

That gives ungrudged its own, nor takes ; 
That ever keeps its calm, and stills 
Its heart, self-centred even when ills 

Impend, with drift of tempest foam 
That wooes the weary, and above 

All other, weaves a nested home 
For every wandering wing of love ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 105 



THE ROYAL ABBESS. 

In the abbey stall, with his vestments old 
So ravelled and rent through stress of time, 

The haughty Bishop, St. Ethelwood, 
Sat waiting the vesper chime. 

As he turned the page of his service-book, 
Beside him he heard a soft, low tread, 

And, ceasing his Aves, with a look 
Of arrogant scorn, he said : 

" Ah ! Edith of Wilton ! So, they tell. 

Thou hast not heeded me ; knowest thou 
My staff is a mace that can compel 
The stateliest head to bow ? 

" I have bidden thee once, and now again. 
As thy ghostly father, I come to urge 
That, putting aside thy royal train. 
Thou clothe thee in simple serge. 



106 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

" King Edgar's daughter although thou be, 
I charge thee remember the Church allows 
No choice for lofty or low degree 
To such as assume her vows. 

" And yet in thy hair the diamond glows, 
Thy golden cross hath a chain of pearls ; 
And see ! at thy throat a fresh-blown rose 
As rare as a gay court-girl's. 

" And, under thy veil of costly lace, 
Is little, I ween, of penance done ; 
What right to heighten her beauty's grace 
Belongs to a Wilton nun ? 

" My robe with its reaved and ragged fray, 
And its knotted girdle of hempen string, 
I would not give in exchange to-day 
For the ermine that clothes the King ! 

The fair young Abbess had stood before 
The priest as he spake, with lowly guise ; 

But there shone, when the sharp rebuke was o'er, 
A fire in her saintly eyes. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 107 

" God gave me the beauty that thou dost bid 
Me cowardly lessen, or meanly dim ; 
Nay ! rather than under the rough serge hid, 
I keep it supreme for Him I 

" My father, the King, to the court still calls ; 
But even his summons have not sufficed 
To lure away from her convent walls 
The virgin espoused to Christ. 

" And I for my holy service' sake, 

As a daughter of princes, choose that He 
Who winneth me from the world should take 
My dowry along with me. 

" He loved the lilies ; He made them fair ; 
And sweet as the sweetest incense flows 
The stream of its fragrance when I wear 
For Him, on my heart, a rose. 

" And, Father, I doubt not, there may hide 
Beneath the tatters thou bidst me view. 
As much of arrogance, scorn, and pride 
As ever the ermine knew I " 



108 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



THE BISHOP'S EPITAPH. 

AT MONTE FIASCONE. 
I. 

Come out of the dim old church, I say, 

Dismal with dust, and chilly cold, 

And dank with hundreds of years of mould ; 

Come out to the fresh, crisp morn of May, 

And taste how the odorous breezes take 

A delicate quality from the Lake 

Of Bolsena, lying yonder, fair 

As a sapphire setting this ancient ring 

Of golden, Etruscan hills, that fling 

Their circles around us everywhere ; 

Then, I will answer your questioning. 

n. 
— You never have heard the story ? — know 
Nothing about this Bishop, who 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 109 

Here has been sleeping some centuries through, 

Under yon battered tomb — nor why 

His marble effigy there should lie 

Flanked, as you see, by flasks instead 

0£ the cross, on either side of his head. 

With the strange inscription, " Est — Est — Est / 

Legible still beneath his breast ? 

m. 

Not forsooth, that there 's much to tell — 

Only I Ve read the chronicle 

Kept in the convent near, — and learned 

The curious way the prelate earned 

Such symbols. It seems this Bishop Johann, 

In his way was a famous sort of man ; 

Not for his churchmanship — a thing 

He did not concern himself about ; 

Credo and Ave and Pater no doubt 

Coming by nature, as blue-birds sing ; 

Nor for his aim-deeds daily wrought, 

Nor for his holy lessons taught. 

Nor for his virtues great or small, 

Nor for his saintly life at all ; 

But he loved one thing — over, above 



110 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

All that there is on earth to love, 
— Wine that was fit for an emperor ; 
And that was all he was famous for ! 

IV. 

The season for him was only fine 

Just as it ripened the laden vine ; 

The flush of the richest sunset skies 

Was only suggestive of the dyes 

Of his favorite clusters, amber, gold ; 

All Nature was but a cup to hold 

The mystic mingling of sun and dew, 

That fired the globules through and through. 

He knew the secret of every cell — 

Where slowly mellowed the mossy casks — 

And not on his rosary could he tell 

His beads, as he told the cob webbed flasks — 

Opened on such and such Saint's Day, 

And fragrant a score of leagues away. 

V. 

And as he searched in other lands 

For the oldest and richest and rarest brands, 

It happened he heard of wines whose fame 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. Ill 

He never had even known by name. 
He summoned his steward : " Go " — he said, 
' And wheresoever you chance to find 
Some vintage of racier, riper kind, 
Then secretly chalk on the barrel's head 
Under the cobwebs somewhere, ' Est ' — 
Saying no word of purchase, lest. 
Knowing my faultless judgment, thrice 
Its worth the rogues may demand in price, 
When I send to fetch the casks away, — * 
Which even a Bishop is loath to pay." 

VI. 

From many a vault the steward drew 

Full tankards : but only here and there. 

As he haunted the cellars through and through. 

Did he find a cask he deemed might bear 

The Bishop's mark. But he came, one night, 

To Monte Fiascone — the height 

Covered with vineyards yonder. When 

He had finished a goblet of its wine. 

He secretly chalked the covert sign, 

And gave them the vessel to brim again. 

And draining it, wrote the second word, 



112 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

And gulping once more, he scored the third 
On the bearded cask-head, Est — Est — Est / 
(The Bishop would know) Good — Better — Best ! 

vn. 
Behind his steward three days or more 
Followed the Bishop. Eagerly 
He came to Monte Fiascone — 
For he heard on the way that its wine was rare, 
Nor paused till his rein was slackened there. 
He sought the cellars ; and chuckled o'er 
The thrice scored word, with a huge delight ; 
He tasted and tippled all the day. 
He drank and he guzzled all the night, 
Till his vital power was worn away ; 
And just as the socket spark seemed fled. 
He lifted a feeble hand and said 
To the monks around him, " A purse of gold 
I give to your convent here, and ask 
That year by year ye will spill a cask 
Of your gracious wine upon my grave — 
That so it may trickle down, and lave 
My mouldering body ; and carve above 
* As my epitaph, the word I love 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 113 

For its fragrant memories. Est — Est — Est / ' 
Kind brothers you have my last request 1 " 

vin. 

I 've answered your question. Now you know 

What sort of a Bishop sleeps below, 

And why the old monks fulfilled their task 

By ca^rving instead of a cross, a flask 

Each side of his head — Do you need to ask ? 



114 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



MAID CICELY'S STEEPLE CAP. 

A. D. 1480. 

I, CONNING my missal, o'erheard to-day, 
At matins, the Lady Abbess say 
That Thomas the Friar, who hath an eye 
For matters that go in the reahn awry, 
Like Peter the Hermit, comes to aid 
King Edward by preaching a new crusade. 
And findeth the secret of all mishaps 
Bomid up in the women's steeple caps ! 

She said that he preached in London Town, 
And took as his text, " Top not come down ; " 
— Plain language as ever the dear Lord spake - 
And he vouched if the women failed to take 
These spires from off their heads and tear 
The kerchiefs away that dangle there, 
St. Peter, who keepeth the golden keys 
Of heaven, on seeing such caps as these. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 115 

Would shut of a surety the door and cry, 
" The gateway is low, and the coif is high : 
Begone with the beetling badge of sin. 
Or not one woman shall enter in ! " 

He frightened them so that straight they tore 
Their caps right off on the abbey floor, 
And fired them there. (I dare suppose 
The fume was sweet to the Friar's nose !) 

" Maid Cicely ! " Quick as quick could be, 

I turned when the Abbess spake to me — 
" Thou wearest a steeple cap, I ween. 

As high as the highest that I have seen ; 

And the silken veil about it wound 

Trails over thy kirtle to the ground. 

Such towers, my daughter, proud and tall, 

May tumble as did Siloam's wall : 

Take heed ! Thou knowest Saint Luke doth tell, 

How on the eighteen, that tower fell 

And slew them " — 

— " Gramercy," quoth I then, 
" But good my mother — they all were men ! 



116 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

And none had been slain, I trow, at all, 
Had only the tower refused to fall ! " 

" Yet had it been meant that thou shouldst be 
An eU-breadth higher — dost thou not see 
That God would have made thee so ? " — " Nay, nay," 
I answered sharp, " that 's not God's way : 
Whatever we can — 't is, certes, true — 
Accomplish, He leaveth for us to do. 

" He meant that the monk be shaven bare ? 
Then why did he clothe his head with hair ? 
— He meant that thy nuns should shear away 
Their beautiful locks ? — Then, wherefore, pray 
Did he make them grow ? — So, mother mine. 
Unless thou provest by word and line 
Of missal, or even Evangelist, 
That Scripture hath banned it, I will twist 
The kerchief about my steeple cap ; 
And the monk shall know that it takes a rap 
Of something more than a shaven crown 
To tumble a maiden's top-knot down ! " 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 117 



THE WANDERER'S BELL. 

The Baron's daughter would ride abroad, 
Though skies grew fleecy, as waned the day ; 

But what did she care for the thickening air. 
When she thought of her villagers far away ? 

They needed the healing draught her hand 
Was pledged to carry ere set of sun : 

And she would be back on the homeward track 
Before she should see the storm begun. 

" I never could lose myself," she said ; 

"Or if I should chance astray to roam, 
My Balther would know through swaths of snow 

The safest and surest pathway home." 

So she flung the rein on her palfrey's neck. 
And hummed in his ear her chirrup-tune. 

And cantered amain across the plain. 
Nor heeded the gray of the afternoon. 



118 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

But when, with her sacred mission done 

(For they held her long with their tales of woe), 

She mounted, the wold was white and cold. 
And the path was hidden by swirls of snow. 

The pines stretched dusky and dim before, 
And madly aloft their great arms tossed ; 

But she chirruped her cheer without a fear 
That Balther could be misled or lost. 

Yet wilder and fiercer roared the blast, 
And blindingly beat in Gerta's face. 

Until she was fain in Balther's mane 
To cover her mouth for breathing-space. 

Still into the forest's sheeted maze, 
As trackless now as the surge of seas. 

Plunged Balther, although the wreaths of snow 
At each step buried him to the knees. 

Far into the night they struggled on, 

TiU, breathless and spent and sore afraid, 

With her rein loose flung, fast Gerta clung 
To the neck of her panting steed, and prayed : 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 119 

" Oh, save me, Father, for Christ's dear sake ! " 
And scarce had she uttered aloud the word 
When she felt that an ear was pricked to hear 
Some sound that her own not yet had heard. 

With a forward bound through the swamping drifts 
Sprang Balther. Who Gerta's joy could tell 

As she caught through the white, blind rifts of night 
The distant peal of a chapel-bell ? 

The good Knight Waldemar vowed a vow, 
For his daughter rescued, that nevermore 

Should any who crossed the wold be lost 
For lack of a guide to the convent-door. 

And that is the reason that when the hand 
Of the clock in the tower at ten appears, 

The bell on yon height rings every night, 

And has done it for over three hundred years. 



120 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



BEFORE DEATH. 

I. 
How much would I care for it, could I know, 
That when I am under the grass or snow, 
The ravelled garment of life's brief day 
Folded, and quietly laid away ; 
The spirit let loose from mortal bars, 
And somewhere away among the stars : 
How much do you think it would matter then 
What praise was lavished upon me, when. 
Whatever might be its stint or store, 
It neither could help nor harm me more ? 

II. 

If midst of my toil, they had but thought 
To stretch a finger, I would have caught 
Gladly such aid, to bear me through 
Some bitter duty I had to do : 
And when it was done, had I but heard 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 121 

One breath of applause, one cheering word — 
One cry of " Courage I " amid the strife, 
So weighted for me, with death or life — 
How would it have nerved my soul to strain 
Through the whirl of the coming surge again ! 

III. 

What use for the rope, if it be not flung 

Till the swimmer's grasp to the rock has clung ? 

What help in a comrade's bugle-blast 

When the peril of Alpine heights is past ? 

What need that the spurring pgean roll 

When the runner is safe beyond the goal ? 

What worth is eulogy's blandest breath 

When whispered in ears that are hushed in death ? 

No ! no ! if you have but a word of cheer. 

Speak it, while I am ahve to hear ! 



122 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



A NOVEMBER NOCTURNE. 

The autumn air sweeps faint and chill 
Across the maple-crested hill ; 

And on my ear 

Falls, tingling clear, 
A strange, mysterious, woodland thrill. 

From utmost twig, from scarlet crown 
Untouched with yet a tinct of brown, 

Reluctant, slow, 

As loath to go, 
The loosened leaves come wavering down ; 

And not a hectic trembler there. 
In its decadence, doomed to share 

The fate of all, — 

But in its fall, 
Flings something sob-like, on the air. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 123 

No drift or dream of passing bell, 
Dying afar in twilight dell, 

Hath any heard, 

Whose chimes have stirred 
More yearning pathos of farewell. 

A silent shiver, as of pain, 

Goes quivering through each sapless vein ; 

And there are moans. 

Whose undertones 
Are sad as midnight autumn-rain. 

Ah, if without its dirge-like sigh, 
No lightest-clinging leaf can die, — 

Let him who saith 

Decay and death 
Should bring no heart-break, tell me why. 

Each graveyard gives the answer : There 
I read Resurgam everywhere : 

— So easy said 

Above the dead — 
So weak to anodyne despair ! 



124 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 



AUTUMN LOVE. 
A wife's letter. 

Dear Heart ! You ask if time has changed 

The love of long ago ; 
If summer's flush of love is past — 

The love we cherished so ; 
Because with hand in hand we walk 

Together in the snow. 

We cannot turn life's seasons back, 

However much we grieve 
That summer's solstice days are gone — 

We cannot once deceive 
These hearts, so versed in love's true lore, 

With any make-believe. 

And now October's deepening glint 

Goldens the season o'er ; 
The perfect fruit is on the stem. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 125 

The kernel at the core ; 
We 've gathered in our harvest-graith, 
What can we wish for more ? 

The roses pearled with fancy's dew 

No longer meet our glance ; 
The lily stalks of sentiment 

We look at half-askance, 
And smile, perhaps, to think they once 

Were fragrant with romance. 

Content us so ! We own the change ; 

We know the splendid hours 
Have gone with all their drifts of cloud 

And gusts of rainbow showers ; 
And love has had its summer-time 

For these twain hearts of ours. 

And yet love's lucid atmosphere 

Hath known no clearer shine : 
The birds that linger never sang 

With trills — if few — so fine ; 
The starlight, as we walk beneath, 

Seemed never more divine. 



126 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

And as my heart in curtained hush 
Sits wrapped in dreamy bliss 

Beside our Lares-fire, and feels 

The warmth of clasp and kiss — 

I wonder if our summer love 
Were half so sweet as this ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 127 



THE FLEMISH BELLS. 

[The bells cast by the famous moulder, Van den Gheyn, of Lou- 
vain, are said now to have lost all the sweetness which they had a 
hundred years ago.] 

Sadly he shook his frosted head, 
Listening and leaning on his cane ; 
" Nay — I am like the bells," he said. 
Cast by the moulder of Louvain. 

" Often you Ve read of their mystic powers, 
Floating o'er Flanders' dull lagoons ; 
How they would hold the lazy hours 
Meshed in a net of golden tunes. 

" Never such bells as those were heard 
Echoing over the sluggish tide ; 
Now like a storm crash — now like a bird, 
Flinging their carillons far and wide. 



128 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

" There in Louvain they swing to-day, 

Up in the turrets where long they Ve swung ; 
But the rare cunning of yore they say, 

Somehow has dropped from the brazen tongue. 

" Over them shines the same pale sky, 
Under them stretch the same lagoons ; 
Out from the belfries, bird-like fly, 
As from a nest, the same sweet tunes : 

" Ever the same — and yet we know 

None are entranced, these later times. 
Just as the listeners long ago 

Were, with the wonder of their chimes. 

" Something elusive as viewless air, 
Something we cannot understand. 
Strangely has vanished out of the rare 
Skill of the moulder's master-hand. 

"So — when you plead that life is still 
Full, as of old, with tingling joy — 
That I may hear its music thrill, 
Just as I heard it when a boy ; 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 129 

" All I can say is — Youth has passed — 
Master of magic falls and swells — 
Bearing away the cunning cast 
Into the moulding of the bells ! " 



130 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 



NUNC DIMITTIS. 

What a good world and fair, 
And excellently lovely ! If there be 
Among the myriad spheres of upper air, 
One yet more beautiful, some other where, 
It matters not to me. 

What can I crave of good 
That here I find not ? Nature's stores are spread 
Abroad with such profusion, that I would 
Not have one glory added, if I could. 

Beneath or overhead. 

And I have loved right well 
The world God gave us to be happy in ; 
A world — may be — without a parallel 
Below that Heaven of Heavens, where doth not dwell 

The discontent of sin. 

And yet though I behold 
Its matchless splendors stretched on every side, — 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 131 

Its sapphire seas, its hills, its sunset gold, 
Its leafage, fresh as Eden's was of old, '— 
I am not satisfied. 

Dark, blurring shadows fall 
On everything ; a strange confusion reigns ; 
The whole creation travaileth, and, through all, 
I hear the same sad murmur that Saint Paul 

Heard, sitting in his chains. 

Where'er I look abroad. 
What blight I see ! What pain, and sin, and woe 1 
What taint of death beneath the greenest sod ! 
Until I shudder, questioning how God 

Can bear to have it so ! 

I marvel that His love 
Is not out-worn ; I wonder that He hath 
A plenitude of patience, so above 
Finite conception, that it still can prove 

A stay upon His wrath. 

And then, — because I tire 
Of self, and of this poor humanity, — 



132 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

Because I grovel where I should aspire, 
And wail my thwarted hope and balked desire, 
With such small faith to see, 

That yet, o'er all this ill, 
God's final good shall triumph, when the sum 
Is reckoned up ; that even, if I will, 
I, at the least, in mine own bosom still 
May see His kingdom come, — 

Because of this, I say, 
I pine for that pure realm where turmoils cease. 
Sighing (more tired of them than day by day 
Heart-broken after Heaven !) " Lord, let, I pray y 
Thy servant go in peace ! '' 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 133 



THE FAIRIES' TABLE-CLOTH. 

Here is the fairies' table, vined 

Over with lichened buhl-work bright : 

Here is the cloth they left behind 
After their feast was done last night. 

Neyer such napery met my eyes ; 

Never such cobweb woof I 've found, 
Dotted with dew-drops damask-wise, 

Bordered with seed-pearl all around. 

Service of creamiest lily ware, 

Spoons of gold from the tulip's heart ; 

Silver Spergnes of callas rare, 

Napkins fringed by the gentian's art. 

Wine from the spice-wood's vintage poured, 
Out of the bubble's Venice glass ; 

Bread from the pollen of wild-peas stored ; 
Gates from the buds of sassafras. 



134 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

Meats from the hazels ; sweets and sours, 
Fashioned alone for fairy lips, 

Out of the cores of pungent flowers. 
Out of the purple haws and hips. 

Fruits from the winter-green, alder, grape ; 

Barberries red with ruby glows ; 
Wildings of elfin size and shape, 

Folded in leaves of brier-rose. 

Satiny toad-stools ranged as chairs ; 

Moon mid-sky for a chandelier ; 
Crickets and tree-frogs droning airs. 

Up in the green orchestra near. 

Ah, what a supper it must have been ! 

Bountiful, zested, racy, rare ; 
Ah, ]f I only had fairy kin ! 

Ah, if I only had been there ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 135 



THE KISS OF WORSHIP. 

I. 

They tell us of a race 

In far-off lands, 
Who, in old pagan days, 

Would kiss their hands 
And fling upon the air 

Their homage, so 
That round them everywhere 

The gods might know 
How, in the symbols spread 

Before their eyes, 
Beneath and overhead, 

In seas and skies ; 
Behind each natural law 

They felt the sign, 
And, owned in all they saw 

The touch divine. 



136 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

And, lest through oversight, 

Some power should miss 
The reverence deemed his right, 

They flung their kiss 
Of worship on the wind, 

Thus to be blown 
Where'er its wings could find 

For gods a throne. 

II. 

We of a later race, 

Who walk on heights 
That front the dwelling-place 

Of Him who lights 
With floods of radiancy 

Our paths, each one, — 
Till, like the angel, we 

Stand in the sun, — 
Do we, with lifted hands 

And loyal mouth. 
Thus over seas and lands — 

East, west, north, south — 
Fling worship on the track 

Of winds abroad, 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 137 

Till all around comes back 

The echo ''God*'? 
And lest we chance to fail 

In fuU acclaim 
Of attributes that veil 

The holiest Name ; 
Do we send Love, whose wing 

No space debars, 
Beyond the luminous ring 

Of outmost stars, 
To drop with breathless bliss 

Of homage sweet 
Faith's wide-flung, rapturous kiss 

About His feet ? 



138 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 



AT LAST. 

Written by request for the Ovation held in honor of Edgar Allan 
Poe, in the New York Academy of Music. 

If he were here to-night — the strange rare poet, 
Whose sphinx-like face no jestings could beguile — 

To meet the award at last, and feel and know it 
Securely his — how grand would be his smile ! 

How would the waves of wordless grief, that over 
His haughty soul had swept through surging years, 

Sink to a mystic calm, till he would cover 
His proud pale face to hide the happy tears ! 

Who knows the secret of that strange existence — 
That world within a world — how far, how near ; 

Like thought for closeness, like a star for distance — 
Who knows ? The conscious essence may be here. 

If from its viewless bounds the soul has power 
To free itself for some ethereal flight, 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 139 

How strange to think the compensating hour 
For all the tragic past, may be to-night ! 

To feel that, where the galling scoffs and curses 

Of Fate fell heaviest on his blasted track. 
There, Fame herself the spite of Fate reverses — 

Might almost win the restless spirit back. 

Though the stern Tuscan, exiled, desolated. 

Lies mid Ravenna's marshes far away, 
At Santa Croce, still his stone is feted, 

And Florence piles her violets there to-day ! 

Though broken-hearted the sad singer perished, 
With woe outworn, amid the convent's gloom, 

Yet how pathetic are the memories cherished, 
When Rome keeps Tasso's birthday at his tomb ! 

So, though our poet sank beneath life's burden, 
Benumbed and reckless through the crush of fate ; 

And though, as comes so oft, the yearned-for guerdon, 
No longer yearned for, since it comes too late : 



140 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

He is avenged tonight ! No blur is shrouding 
The flame his genius feeds : the wise, and brave, 

And good, and young, and beautiful are crowding 
Around, to scatter heart's-ease o'er his grave ! 

And his Virginia, like a tender mother 

Who breathes above her errant boy no blame, 

Stoops now to kiss his pallid lips, and smother 
In pride her sorrow, as she names his name. 

— Could he have only seen in vatic vision 
The gorgeous pageant present to our eyes, 

His soul had known one glimpse of joy elysian ! 
— Can we call no man happy till he dies ? 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 141 



A BELLE OF PR^NESTE. 

CASTELLANI COLLECTION OF ANTIQUES. 
I. 

Here is her toilet-case — a crust 
O'er it of greenest classic rust ; 
Still with the delicate twist and twine 
Visible of the rare design ; 
Even the very casket where, 

Nearly three thousand years ago, 
One who was young and fresh and fair — 

Fair as the fairest that you know — 
Hoarded her maiden treasures. See, 
Here is the mirror that used to be 
Able to flash with silvery grace 
Back the divinity of her face ; 
This is the comb — its carvings yet 
Perfect — that knotted her braids of jet ; 
There 's the cicada for her brow ; 
Arrows whose points are blunted now ; 

Coils for her throat ; an unguent pot 



142 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

(Proof of some moulder's wondrous skill), 

Ivory tablet with a blot 
Showing a tint of the carmine still. 

n. 

This was her necklace : even as I 

Toy with its links of threaded gold, 
She may have toyed, with pensive sigh. 

Dropping them through her fingers, while 
Hearing, perhaps, with blushing smile, 

Under the limes, some lover bold 
Telling a tale that 's never old. 
Here is the fibula that lay 
Over her heart for many a day. 
Throbbing what time that lover won 
Wreaths when Etruscan games were done ; 
Quivering under the anguished strain 
When he was borne from battle, slain ; 
Rising and falling with her breath. 
Warming with life or chilled with death ! 

in. 
She — has she vanished who seems so near, 
Drawn by this ancient cista here ? — 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 143 

Faded, as faded those sunset dyes 
Into the infinite, awful skies ? 
Passed, as the wind passed over the grain 
Headed to ripeness on the plain 
Girdling Praeneste ? Did she so 
Perish, these centuried years ago. 
Leaving this only trace, whose rust 
Even may mock her scattered dust ? 
Can you believe this streak of red 
Lives, while her subtle soul is dead ? 
Do the cicada's wings infold 
Essence her spirit could not hold ? 
Dare you avouch this bronze can be 
Something immortal more than she ? 

rv. 

Why do I ask ? Somewhere, somewhere, 

Shrouded in boundless depths of air 

Nearer than we conceive, or far 

Out of the reach of sun or star. 

Vital and sentient, mind, heart, will. 

Waits this belle of Praeneste still. 

Conscious as when in the flesh below, 

Nearly tliree thousand years ago — 

Waits — and for what ? Ah, God doth know ! 



144 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



THE LONGSHOREMAN'S VIEW OF IT. 

What did he do ? Oh, nothing much ; 

Standing upon the bluff one day, 
Suddenly, ere his hand could clutch 

Even his dress, the boy, I say. 
Whom he was watching, as he threw 

Yonder his tackle over the height, 
Toppled headforemost into the blue 

Wash of the sea, and was swept from sight. 

Yonder just where the breakers chum 

Madly their crested caps to snow. 
Where you can see the shelving turn 

Sharp towards the jutting crag below ; 
That 's where he sank : No faintest chance 

Even to venture a hope upon : 
Had he but waited for one brief glance. 

He would have known it — the boy was gone. 

Noble ? Yes — think how he rushed on death. 
Sprang to the spot with one wild leap, 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 145 

Plunged, without pausing to draw a breath, 

Into the jaws of the boiling deep. 
Right where the breakers, hurrying fast 

Over each other with blinding spray, 
Tumbled and scattered in surges vast. 

Just as you see them do to-day. 

What were a couple of lives to them ? 

Little as yonder swirling chips, — 
They with their rush no might can stem. 

Ready to swallow a hundred ships. 
Father or brother ? Nay, not he ! 

Only a stranger, some one said ; 
The greater the pity, it seems to me, 

Being no other, — since he is dead. 

Ah, thank Heaven ! you say, that still 

Heroes like this among our clods 
Lift and exalt our nature till 

Grandly it stretches up to God's. 
Well, I am one of the common brand, 

Such as may everywhere be found : 
Yes, — the example may thrill the land. 

But — can it help the man who's drowned ? 



146 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 



THE WINE-VAULTS OF BERGENSTEIN. 

A GERMAN LEGEND. 

Old Heinrich sat at the hostel door, 
And counted the gains of the market o'er, 
That never had seemed so small before. 

" How Gretchen will scold ! But then the beer 
Has heartened me up with its kindly cheer : — 
Boy, bring me another tankard here ! " 

The tankard was drained, and he homeward went 
With a stagger of stolid, dull content. 
Though Gretchen should know that his gains were 
spent. 

But scarce had he shambled one half his way, 
When, as it was nearing the close of day, 
A voice at his elbow seemed to say, — 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 147 

" Ah ! here are the ruins of Bergenstein, 
So famous, 't was said in the days lang syne, 
For vintages of a wondrous wine. 

" For such, of a truth, were nowhere known 

As mellowed beneath the piles of stone, 

In tuns with their cobwebbed beards o'ergrown. 

*^ The lords of the castle, although they were 
Right ancient barons, with scutcheons fau*, 
Held shamefully riotous revels there. 

" They drank in the morning, they drank at night, 
They wasted their lives in brawl and fight ; 
And the castle it crumbled, as well it might. 

" Yet steadily, under it all, the vine 
Kept bearing, beneath the rain and shine ; 
And still in the vaults they stored the wine. 

** 'Twas over two hundred years ago 

When all that I tell you happened so ; 

For I was the cooper — and I should know. 



148 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

" The last of the Bergen knights was he 
Who flung, as he came to die, the key 
Of the vaults, with an angry glare at me, 

" And said, — ' It has slain us one by one ; 

Go turn the spigot of every tun. 

And let the wine that has cursed us run.' 

" I flew to obey, in hottest haste, 
But, stopping to take one golden taste, 
I had not the heart to see the waste ; 

" And, lifting my eyes, I could but say, — 
' God keep his perilous gifts, I pray, 
Safe till the Millennium ! When that day 

" ^ Shall dawn on a world new-made again, 
Such draughts shall be harmless unto men 
Grown like to the angels, but — not till then ! ' 

" My prayer had its answer, — year by year 

I visit the vaults, and linger near 

To see that no trace of the tuns appear. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 149 

" And as soon as the blossoms scent the vine, 
The crones declare 't is a certain sign 
That the cooper has come to taste his wine. 

" Poor fool ! as you listen to what I Ve told 
Of the tuns, you would barter a bag of gold 
To see them, and stroke their beards of mould." 

" And toss off a tankard," old Heinrich said, 
And turned him about and rubbed his head. 
But — cooper, and castle, and all had fled ! 

And there in the roadside ditch he lay, 

And puzzled his brains till break of day, 

And wondered what Gretchen would have to say. 



150 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



PRITCHARD THE ENGINEER. 

I. 

Right on the track of the flying train 

Lay the huge bowlder. Quick as thought, 
Grasping the throttle with a strain 

Tightened and terrible, Pritchard caught 
Hold of the brake-bar. On its way, 

Crashing to headlong ruin, rushed 
Madly the engine, till it lay 

Hurled on the bowlder, wrecked and crushed. 

II. 
Smitten with horror, pale with fear, 

Hastened the anxious crowd to see 
Whether the faithful engineer 

(Braver or better none than he) 
Breathed, as he stood there with his face 

Grand in its steadfast purpose set. 
Showing the ordeal's awful trace 

Stamped on the rigid features yet. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 151 

III. 

What did they find ? One hand a-strain, 

Grasping the throttle with a clutch 
Closer than death's, and one in vain 

Clinching the hrake-valve bar with such 
Spasm of grip they could undo 

Only with wrench of strength applied ; 
Seeing the bolt that pierced him through, 

Failed to unclasp it — so he died : 

IV. 

Died at his post, as a brave man should, 

Shirking no duty, danger, strife ; 
True to his trust, although it would 

Cost him — he saw it so — his life. 
These are the heroes, noblest far, — 

Men who can meet without a fear 
Death, with their hands upon the bar, 

Even as Pritchard the engineer ! 



152 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



COMPENSATION. 

Because the page of saint and sage 
Is closed before your burdened eyes ; 

Because the thought by genius wrought 
Forbidden to your vision lies ; 

Because the fine, ecstatic line 

The poet writes is shut away ; 
Because you glance at no romance, 

Nor sweep the world-news of the day ; — 

Must you sit by with murmurous sigh, 
And hopeless sadness in your looks ; 

As if the best of life's true zest 

Were bound within the realms of books ? 

Lift up, I pray, this golden day, 
That vision which the classic line 

Has dimmed with pain of overstrain, 
And own there 's something more divine 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 153 

Upon the broad expanse which God 
Sets clear before your spirit's reach, 

Freighted with more exalted lore 

Than human tongue could ever teach. 

Your pen can trace no faintest grace 

Of fancy such as throbs and stirs 
In living light along the bright 

Record of Nature's characters. 

No wisest sage, no scholar's page, 

No secrets, Science may descry, 
Can teach the heart a thousandth part 

As much as God's great, open sky. 

And tell me where are poets rare 
As lyric birds that thrill and throng 

The solitudes of breezy woods 
Just for the very love of song ! 

What gay romance can weave a dance 

As airy as the butterfly's ? 
What drama's dream can ever seem 

Tragic as that in human eyes ? 



154 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

God's way is best. If He has pressed 
His hand above your eyelids so, 

Be sure, therefore, he has some lore 
To teach you that you do not know. 

Hold the dear hand, and understand, 
While covering it with kisses true, 

That you must lay all else away 

Till you have heard His teachings through. 

A Father's care should surely wear 
No semblance even of love's eclipse. 

If down he lays the book and says, 

*' Child, learn your lesson from my lips,'' 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 165 



ARAB WIT. 

In a green oasis where gurgling ran 
The sedge-choked waters, a caravan 
Paused, marching to Ispahan. 

And, calm as the Oman when the roar 
Of surging breakers along its shore 
Sinks as the storm is o'er, — 

On his Yemen cloth the Emir lay ; 
For many had been the fearful fray 
Since thither he tracked his way. 

His pitiless hand had wide and far 
Traced, with the sweep of his scimitar, 
A circle of scathe and scar. 

And now, with his works of vengeance done, 
Tranquil he prayed at set of sun, 
" Allah, the Faith hath won." 



156 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

" Who sayeth it ? " rang a fierce demand ; 
For, scouring o'er the soundless sand, 
An Arab leaped, close at hand. 

" Pray, how hath he won ? By thousands slain, 

This Emir, whose rule is scourge and bane : 

No Tigris could wash his stain ! " 

" By Allah ! " the Emir scowled, — his brow 
Pallid with fury — " knowest thou 
That Emir am I ? And now 

" Thy life for thy slander 's cost ! " 

"Nay, nay!'' 
The Arab laughed, in a jeering way ; 
" Who questions thy right, I pray ? 

" Thou hast told thy rank — hear mi?ie : I am 
Of the powerful race of the Yezidan, 
Whose reason is cool and calm 

" Save at full-moon ; and then some blight — 
Ha ! ha ! — makes fools of us all outright ; 
And — the moon is full to-night ! " 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 157 

The blade slid back to its jewelled head, 
As, waving his hand, the Emir said, 
" Give to the fool some bread." 



168 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 



CALLING THE ANGELS IN. 

We mean to do it. Some day, some day, 
We mean to slacken this fevered rush 

That is wearing our very souls away ; 
And grant to our hearts a hush 

That is only enough to let them hear 

The footsteps of angels drawing near. 

We mean to do it. Oh, never doubt, 

When the burden of daytime broil is o'er, 

We '11 sit and muse while the stars come out, 
As the patriarchs sat at the door 

Of their tents with a heavenward-gazing eye. 

To watch for the angels passing by. 

We 've seen them afar at high noontide, 

When fiercely the world's hot flashings beat ; 

Yet never have bidden them turn aside, 
And tarry in converse sweet ; 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 159 

Nor prayed them to hallow the cheer we spread, 
To drink of our wine and break our bread. 

We promise our hearts that when the stress 
Of the life-work reaches the longed-for close, 

When the weight that we groan with hinders less, 
We '11 welcome such calm repose 

As banishes care's disturbing din, 

And then — we 'U call the angels in. 

The day that we dreamed of comes at length. 

When, tired of every mocking quest, 
And broken in spirit and shorn of strength. 

We drop at the door of rest. 
And wait and watch as the day wanes on — 
But — the angels we meant to call, are gone ! 



160 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



PERSEPHONE. 

Listen ! What a sudden rustle 

Fills the air ! 
All the birds are in a bustle 

Everywhere. 
Such a ceaseless hum and twitter 

Overhead ! 
Such a flash of wings that glitter, 

Wide outspread ! 
Far away I hear a drumming — 

Tap, tap, tap ! 
Can the woodpecker be coming 

After sap ? 
Butterflies are hovering over 

(Swarms on swarms) 
Yonder meadow-patch of clover, 

Like snowstorms. 
Through the vibrant air a tingle 

Buzzingly 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 161 

Throbs, and o'er me sails a single 

Bumble-bee. 
Lissome swayings make the willows 

One bright sheen, 
Which the breeze puffs out in billows 

Foamy green. 
From the marshy brook that 's smoking 

In the fog, 
I can catch the crool and croaking 

Of a frog. 
Dogwood-stars the slopes are studding, 

And I see 
Blooms upon the purple-budding 

Judas-tree. 
Aspen-tassels thick are dropping 

All about. 
And the alder-leaves are cropping 

Broader out ; 
Mouse-ear tufts the hawthorn sprinkle, 

Edged with rose ; 
The dark bed of periwinkle 

Fresher grows. 
Up and down are midges dancing 

On the grass ; 



162 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

How their gauzy wings are glancing 

As they pass ! 
What does all this haste and hurry 

Mean, I pray — 
All this ou^doo^ flush and flurry 

Seen to-day ? 
This presaging stir and humming, 

Chirp and cheer 
Mean ? It means that Spring is coming : 

Spring is here ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 163 



THE KEPT PROMISE. 

In the Moslem city of Khorassan, 
Adjudging the people from his divan, 
Sat Omar the pitiless, haughty Khan. 

He had sentenced assassin, knave, and thief, 
And he called to his guard with order brief : 
" Now bring to me hither the Vizier Chief, 

" Who dared to defy my bidding. He 
Who let from his camp my foe go free. 
Because he had shared his salt, shall see 

" That the man who can break his promise, led 
By a fancied duty, nor risk instead 
Life rather than do it, must lose his head." 

The Vizier was summoned. With hurried words 

He told how a chief of the hostile Kurds, 

Who seemed but a shepherd of flocks and herds. 



164 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

Had come to his tent, his eyeballs dim 
Through hunger, and gaunt in every limb ; — 
" What could I, but break my bread with him ? " 

The face of the Khan grew wroth ; his eye 
Flashed fire ; he deigned but curt reply : 
" The soldier who breaks his word must die ! " 

No pallor the Vizier's cheek o'erspread ; 

On his bosom he only dropped his head : 

" It is Fate, — it is Fate ! " he grimly said. 

" I am ready, O master, to meet the worst. 
But not till your kindness grants me first 
A vessel of water to quench my thirst : 

" Shall the scimitar stay till I drink ? " Quick o'er 
The forehead of Omar, so harsh before. 
Dawned something like pity : " Till then : no more ! " 

The water was brought. The Vizier's brow 
Shone brighter : " We all of us heard you vow, 
'Till then.' Your promise is pledged me now I " 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 165 

Then he dashed on the ground the goblet ! "So 
You have snared me, knave ! " said the Khan. " But, 

no — 
I never will break a promise. Go ! " 



166 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 



A TOUCH OF FROST. 

Only a word it was — a word 

Freighted with sweetness to the core, 

Even for both of them spoken and heard 
Thousands of times before. 

What was the matter with it now, 
That it should seem to .throw a blight 

Over the flushing cheek and brow, 
Turned to the sudden light ? 

Was not the innocent word the same 
That, in her days of bridal bliss, 

Oft he had wreathed about her name, 
Crowning it with a kiss ? 

Yet what a difference ! Crisp and curt, 
Piercing the sensitive soul, it drew 

Blood from her heartrlife, till the hurt 
Harrowed her through and through. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 167 

He — did he mean to wound her so, 

Whom he had loved through all the years, 

Letting her from his presence go 
Blind with her pent-up tears ? 

Never ! Does Nature mean to kill 

Blossoms she cherishes at such cost, 
When o'er her dews she drops a chill 

Turning them all to frost ? 

Can she be conscious that on some night. 

Frostier, keener, and colder far 
Than is her wont, she breathes a blight ? 

No — but the roses are / 



168 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 



THE FIRST TE DEUM. 

'T WAS Easter night in Milan ; and before 

The altar in the great Basilica, 

St. Ambrose stood. At the baptismal font 

Kneeled a young neophyte, his brow still wet 

With the symboHc water, and near by 

The holy Monica, her raised eyes strained, 

As with unearthly ecstasy she breathed 

Her Nunc Dimittis, Domine. The words 

Of comfort spoken — ^' Be sure the child for whom 

Thy mother-heart hath poured so many prayers 

Shall not be lost " — had full accomplishment, 

And her tired heart found peace. 

St. Ambrose raised 
His hands to heaven, and on his face there shone 
Such light as glorified the Prophet's, when 
An angel from the altar bare a coal 
And touched his lips. With solemn step and slow, 
He turned to meet Augustine, as he rose 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 169 

Up from the pavement ; and thereon he brake 
Forth in ascriptive chant : 

" We praise Thee, God, 
And we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord 1 " 
Augustine, on the instant, caught the tone 
Of answering exultation : 

" All the earth 
Doth worship Thee, the Father Everlasting ! " 
And from the altar-rail came back again 
The antiphony : 

" To Thee all angels cry 
Aloud, the heavens and all the powers therein." 
And from the font, 

" To Thee the cherubim 
And seraphim continually do cry, 
Oh, Holy, Holy, Holy, Thou Lord God 
Of Sabaoth ! Heaven and earth are full of all 
The glory of Thy Majesty ! " 

And then. 
With upward gaze, as if he looked upon 
The infinite multitude about the throne, 
St. Ambrose uttered with triumphant voice, 
" The glorious company of the Apostles " — 
" Praise Thee " — burst reverent from Augustine's lips ; 



170 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

" The goodly fellowship of all the Prophets " — 

" Praise Thee : " " The noble army of the Martyrs " — 

"Praise Thee!" 

Thus back and forth responsive rolled 
The grand antiphonal, until the crowd 
That kneeled throughout the vast Basilica, 
Rose to their feet, and toward the altar pressed, 
With one strong impulse drawn ! The breath of God 
Had to their thought inspired these mortal tongues 
To which they listened, as beneath a spell 
Vatic and wonderful. 

And when the last 
Response was reached, and the rapt speakers stood 
With eyelids closed, as those who had seen God, 
And could not brook at once a mortal face. 
Awestruck, the people bowed their heads and wept. 
Then uttered with acclaim, one long — Amen / 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 171 



THE CHRIST-CROTCH.! 

A. D. 12—. 

A child's chkistmas ballad. 

'T WAS the time of the old Crusaders : 

And back with his broken band 
The Lord of a Saxon castle 

Had come from the Holy Land. 

He was weary of wars and sieges, 

And it sickened his soul to roam 
So far from his wife and children, 

So long from his English home. 

And yet with a noble courage 

He was proud for the Faith to fight ; 

For he carried upon his shoulder 
The sign of the Red-Cross Knight. 

^ Christ-Crotch or Christ-Cradle — the old Saxon name for Mince- 
Pie. 



172 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

It was Christmas-Eve at the castle, 
The yule-log burnt in the hall, 

And helmet and shield and banner 
Threw shadows upon the wall. 

And the Baron was telling stories 
To the children about his knees. 

Of some of the holy places 
He had visited over seas. 

He talked of the watching shepherds, 
Of the wonderful, mystic sights, 

Of the song that the angels chanted 
That first of the Christmas-Nights : 

He told of the star whose shining 
Out-sparkled the brightest gem. 

He told of the hallowed cradle 
They showed him at Bethlehem. 

And the eyes of the children glistened 
To think that a rock sufficed, 

With nothing but straw for blankets, 
To cradle the Baby-Christ. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 173 

" Nay ! quiet your sobbings, sweetest," 

Right gayly the Baron cried — 
" For nothing but smiles must greet me, 

This blessedest Christmas-Tide. 

" Come, wife ! I have thought of a cradle 
Which thou, with the skill I praise, 
Shalt mould with thy dainty fingers, 
To honor this day of days ! 

" So lest we forget the manger, 
Choose out of thy platters fair. 
The one that is largest, deepest. 
And line it with deftest care, 

" With flakes of the richest pastry, 
Wrought cunningly by thy hands. 
That thus it may bring before us 

The thought of the swaddling-bands. 

" And out of thy well-stored larder. 
Set forth of thy very best : 
Is aught that we have too precious 
To grant to this Christmas Guest ? 



174 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

" Strew meats of the finest shredding, 
(The litter was chopped in the stall ;) 
Let butter and wine and honey 
Be lavished above them all. 

" Let raisins and figs from Smyrna 
That draw to the East our thought, 
With Araby's pungent spices, 
Just such as the Magi brought ; 

" And syrups and tincts be mingled 
With fruits from the Southern sea, 
And given ungrudged ; remember 
He gave of his best for thee ! 

" Then over the noble platter, 
A cover of pastry draw, 
A star in its midst, as a token 
Of that which the Sages saw. 

" Christ's Cradle ! — for so we '11 call it ; 
And ever, sweetheart, I pray, 
With such thou wilt make us merry 
At dinner each Christmas-Day ! " 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 176 



THE BEGGING CUPID. 

A PIECE OF SCULPTURE. 

I WATCHED as they stood before it, — 

A girl with a face as fair 

As any among the raarbles, 

So cold in their whiteness there ; 

And a youth in whose glance, entreaty 
Each lineament seemed to stir, 
She only had eyes for the sculpture ; 
He only had eyes for her. 

And poising in critic-fashion 

The delicate upturned head, 

" Was ever so sweet a beggar ? " 

With sudden appeal, she said. 

" Just look at the innocent archness, 
The simple and childish grace, 



176 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

Half mirthful and half pathetic, 
That dimples his pleading face. 

" Who ever could think that mischief 
Was hidden in such a guise ? 
Or even that rosy sorrows 
Lurk in those lambent eyes ? 

" Deny him f Perhaps ! though never 
With hardness or scorn or blame ; 
For I think I should sob with pity, 
If that were the way he came." 

She turned as she spoke : the glamour 
Of feeling had made her blind 
To the trick of the stealthy arrow 
The Cupid concealed behind : 

*•' Ah, ha ! " she cried, while the color 
Rubied her neck of snow — 

" You plausible, wheedling beggar ! 
I have nothing to give you, — Go ! " 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 177 



HOW HILDA'S PRAYER WAS ANSWERED. 

AN OLD SAXON BALLAD. 

" On him who conquers in the lists 
All who therein shall ride ; 
Or high or low, I will bestow 
My daughter as his bride." 

So spake the Earl with suitors vexed, 
Who sought fair Hilda's hand ; 

To whom he dare no choice declare, 
Since rapine ruled the land. 

For should he smile on Harold^s hopes, 
Then Bertric's wrath would fall ; 

And spear and lance might gleam and glance 
Around his castle wall. 

And should he frown on lesser squires, 
Nor grant them word of grace, 



178 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

Each Saxon churl his curse would hurl 
Against his name and race. 

So Hilda nursed a gnawing grief 

Concealed within her breast : 
For well she knew the knight so true 

Who long had loved her best — 

Would meet that rival in the jousts 

Whose arm a brand could fling 
(His only claim) with surest aim 

Of all within the ring. 

" The prowest spirit of them all, 
May fail among them there, — 
So true he was — and just because 
This carl can split a hair ! " 

" Beseech thee, father ! spare thy child ! 
I plead by every tear 
Of anguish shed that day of dread 
Above my mother's bier." 

" Peace ! peace ! — no more ! My word is passed : " 
'T was all the Earl would say : 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 179 

So forth they hied from far and wide 
Upon the tilting-day. 

Thrice Harold's daring swept the ring, 

But when the lists were done, 
A blasting blight smote Hilda's sight — 

For Bertric's lance had won ! 

The grim Earl held his promise fast ; 

The marriage-day was set ; 
And Hilda, pale beneath her veil 

As snow-swathed violet — 

Long in her oratory prayed, 

Low bowed in bitter gloom, 
That Heaven, even now — she knew not how — 

Would save her from her doom. 

" The bridegroom chafes " — her maidens urge, 
" The gay procession waits ; 
Thy palfrey champs the bit, and stamps 
Impatient at the gates." 

" His gift ! " — she wept : " O happy hours — 
So free — so far away ! 



180 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

What cruelty, that this should be 
The roan I ride to-day ! " 

The palfrey pricked his silken ear, 

And shook his shining mane, 
And seemed to know how loath to go 

Was she who drew the rein. 

And when the distant abbey bell 

Rang forth the wedding peals. 
At the first clang, away he sprang 

As Fate were at his heels. 

With flashing hoofs that spurned the ground 

Along the vale he flew, 
Fleet as the wind, ere those behind 

Bethought them what to do : — 

Swept past the abbey — down the slope — 

Across the brawling tide. 
And skimmed the wold whose moorland rolled 

Unhedged on every side — 

Nor slackened once his headlong plunge 
Till at his master's hall. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 181 

He heard a shout he knew, rmg out — 
Then saw the drawbridge fall — 

And staggered over. From his neck 

Half crazed with wild alarms, 
The shuddering bride was caught — to hide 

Her swoon in Harold's arms ! 

He bore her to the utmost tower, 

And thence they watched the race, 
As in keen quest each wedding-guest 

Came spurring on apace. 

The fiery Bertric dashed in front — 

Foam frothing from the flank 
Of the hot steed, urged on full speed 

Against the moated bank. 

As rose the lifted hoofs in air, 

The maddened creature whirled ; 
And down the steep with backward leap, 

Rider and horse were hurled ! 



182 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

And when on-coming followers sprang 

To raise the fallen head, 
With strange dismay the gallants gay 

Saw that their lord was dead ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 183 



CAMBRIDGE BELLS. 

O Cambridge bells, toll out your knells ! 

O listeners, bow the reverent head, 
While tears as vain as April rain 

Fall for your dearest poet dead ! 

Weep, childhood's bands, whose happy hands 
Wove, as it were but yesterday. 

Wreaths for the brow too pallid now 
For aught but an immortal bay. 

Ah wailing hearts, whose keenest smarts 
His spell had power to soften o'er. 

Till all your fears dissolved in tears : — 
His voice can comfort you no more ! 

Glad homes, so bright with all delight. 
Sing low his songs with saddened breath : 

As sweet a tongue as ever sung 
Is palsied with the touch of death. 



184 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

Translucent skies on which his «yes 

Were wont with tranquil gaze to rest, — 

Beyond your blue he pierces through 
The Golden Legend of the west. 

Broad meadows where the grass springs fair, 
No more he 11 thread your winding path, 

Nor watch the wain heaped high with grain, 
Nor loiter 'mid the Aftermath. 

O land whose pride he was ! beside 
His grave let tears the tenderest fall : 

Within your choir is hushed the lyre 
That was the sweetest of them all ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 185 



THE ROMAN BOY'S SHARE IN THE TRIUMPH. 

A. D. 61. 
WITH A PICTURE. 

" I HAVE witnessed the great Ovation, 

I have watched as they slew the sheep ; 
As they marched from the Campus Martius 

Up the Capitolium's steep : 
I was proud as I saw my father 

From the fiery East come home, 
I was proud as I looked on the captives 

And the spoils he had brought to Rome. 

"Ah, Rome is a grand old city. 

And it flushes my soul with joy, 
That my father has won a Triumph — 

That I am a Roman Boy ! 
I am glad of the glorious conquests 

He gained on the far-off shore, 



186 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

That has given the State a splendor 
It scarcely hath known before ! 

" It was noble to see the captives, 

(Poor fellows ! I think they wept !) 
Go chained, as the car of the victor 

Behind them in triumph swept : 
Have they any boys, I wonder, 

Like Marcus and me, at home ? 
Who cares ? They are bold plebeians, 

They have dared to fight with Rome ! 

" But now that the march is over, 

Ho ! comites, come and see 
What spoil from that Eastern country 

My father hath brought for me ! 
Here — lean from the wide fenestra 

And look at this branching bough — 
Did ever you see together 

Such birds as I show you now ? 

" How wise they are looking at me ! 
Ha, Claudius ! didst thou say 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 187 

Some of Minerva's nestlings 

From Athens are caught away ? 
They are angry that they are fettered — 

See ! each of them frowns and scowls — 
I think thou art right, my Claudius, 

I think they 're Minerva's owls. 

" And look at this curious trophy — 

This thing that they call a fan, 
It once was an Indian Satrap's 

In far-away Hindostan — 
They tell me it grew on a palm-tree 

In its Eastern forest home. 
As lofty — my father said it — 

As the loftiest tower in Rome. 

" And mark what a shield he brought me, 

Not one in his legions bore 
A trophy of greater beauty, 

Or one that hath cost him more : 
For his own good sword hath won it. 

And * Keep it,' he said, ' my son. 
As proof of a deed of valor 

A soldier of Rome hath done ! ' 



188 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

" I will keep it : and when my girdle 

Gives place to the toga — then 
Right brave on my arm I '11 wear it, 

When I fight, as a man, with men. 
Oh, ho ! — I will get me conquests, 

And laden with spoils, come home. 
And march, as to-day my father 

Has marched through the streets of Rome I 

" I am glad I have seen the Ovation, 

And the slaughtering of the sheep — 
(I wish I had missed the seeing 

Those poor, chained captives weep !) -^ 
I am proud of my foreign trophies, 

I am proud of my father's joy — 
And over all else, I am proudest 

That I am a Roman Boy ! " 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 189 



SAME-SICKNESS. 



1. 



My mountains curve against the sky, 
A line of beauty pure and true, 
Beyond what English Hogarth drew ; 

And yet I watch with half a sigh 

Their changing lights, and wonder why 
I weary of their depth of blue. 

2. 

No greener valley, forest-walled, 

This land of hill and dale can show : 

Through summer's shine, through winter's snow, 

Its loveliness has never palled 

Upon the senses it enthralled, 

Till now ; — and now it tires me so ! 

3. 

What rippling river ever ran 

More like a river in a dream, 



190 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

Than this, whose sliding waters gleam 
Beneath the bridge's airy span, 
As silvery as waters can ? 

And yet, to-day, how dull they seem ! 

4. 

The sheen of window-panes, that catch 
The glint, recurrent mornings trace 
On yonder hillside dwelling-place. 
So irksome grows, I 'm fain to snatch 
My vision from the square bright patch 
That always stares me in the face. 

5. 

And yet the mountains have not lost 

One grace out of their splendid line ; 
And yet the valley forests shine 

More brilliant through the jewelled frost ; 

And yet the stream has never tossed 

Back flashes that were more divine. 

6. 

My eye is just as clear to note 

Nature's processions, great and small ; 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 191 

These oaks whose leaves refuse to fall ; 
That meadow where the shadows float : 
But then — I We learned the scene by rote, 

And spoiled the meaning of it all. 



192 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 



HER WEDDING-SONG. 

I. 

O April air ! 

Blow fresh and fair, 
And banish every cloud away, 

Nor let a stain 

Of mist or rain 
Obscure her perfect Wedding-Day. 

n. 

O violets ! fling 

The breath of spring 
With lavish waste along her way ; 

Roses distil 

Your sweets, and spill 
Their rareness round her Wedding-Day. 

ni. 
O birds ! prolong 
Your matin song. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 193 

And trill your gladdest roundelay, 

As if ye, too. 

Would add your due 
Of joy to grace her Wedding-Day. 

IV. 

O tender hearts ! 

Whose loving arts 
Must let no quivering tone betray 

The sob beneath : 

Your blessing breathe, 
To sanctify her Wedding-Day. 

V. 

O mother ! come, 

With lips too dumb 
To utter half your soul would say ; 

And seal her bliss 

With prayer and kiss : 
The holiest of her Wedding-Day ! 

VI. 

O father! hold 
In speechless fold 



194 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

The child whom now you give away, 
With tremulous hreath, 
For life, for death, — 

On this her solemn Wedding-Day. 

VII. 

O you who stand 
And clasp her hand, 

And vow to cherish her alway ! 
The troth you bring 
With plighted ring, 

Shall consecrate her Wedding-Day. 

vm. 

O peace of God ! 

Shed aU abroad 
Thy benediction now, I pray ; 

That she may own 

Thy love alone 
Can crown supreme her Wedding-Day. 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 196 



THE ANGEL UNAWARE. 

Abroad on the landscape pale and cold, 

Blurred with a patter of autumn rain, 
I gazed, and questioned if it could hold 

Ever the sweet, old joy again. 
The color had faded from earth and sky, 

Mists hung low where the light had lain, 
And through the willows a fretful sigh 

Moaned as their branches swept the pane. 

" My days must darken as these," I said — 

" Out of my life must summer go ; 
Its russeted memories, dim and dead, 

Shiver along my pathway so ; 
No more the elastic life come back — 

The leap of heart and the spirit-glow 
That never had sense of loss or lack, 

Whether my lot were glad or no." 



196 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE, 

But here on my musings broke a child, 

Fresh from a rush in the pinching air ; 
And, kissing my hand, she gayly smiled. 

Speaking no word, but leaving there 
A handful of heart's-ease, blithe and bright. 

What had become of my cloud of care ? 
It had haloed itself in a ring of light 

Over the angel unaware ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 197 



NATURE'S THRENODY. 

p. H. H. 
I. 

A MURMUR, sad as far-off muffled bells, 

Goes faintly soughing through the shivering pines ; 
The thrill as of a thousand kissed farewells 
Stirs into tremors all the drooping vines ; 
The trailing muscadines 
Forget to take their autumn splendor on, 

And wring their hands with gesture of despair 
Athwart the spicy air, 
Because the voice that sang to them is gone. 

n. 

Along the hemlock aisles the winds complain 

Like chanting priests. I catch the measured tread 

Of weeping Oreads, following twain by twain ; 
While Dryads bear the pale and silent dead, 
Couched on a fragrant bed 

Of pines, marsh-mallows, and the golden-rod ; 
And reverently beneath the cedar shade, 



198 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

Where they his grave have made, 
They wrap him in the autumn's russet sod. 

ni. 
I hear the whippoorwill within the vale, 

In tones that break my heart, its dirge repeat ; 
The mocking-bird sobs out a troubled wail, 
Most melancholy, most divinely sweet, 
Because the lingering feet 
That paused so oft, to catch the mellow strain 
It practised for him, till the daylight's close — 
Too well — too well it knows, — 
Those lingering feet will never come again. 

IV. 

The clouds dissolve themselves in pallid mist. 

That clings like cere-cloths. In the southern breeze 
All gladness dies, by solemn memories whist ; 
The patter of the rain amid the trees 
Is like the moan of seas 
After the wreck. And all this silence shed 
O'er nature, like a diapason pause, 
Has come to pass, because 
The poet who has led the choir is dead ! 



BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 199 



EVEN-SONG. 

1. 

There 'll come a day when the supremest splendor 

Of earth or sky or sea, 
Whate'er then* miracles, sublime or tender, 

Will wake no joy in me. 

2. 

There '11 come a day when all the aspiration, 

Now with such fervor fraught, 
As lifts to heights of breathless exaltation. 

Will seem a thing of naught. 

3. 

There '11 come a day when riches, honor, glory, 

Music and song and art. 
Will look like puppets in a worn-out story. 

Where each has played his part. 



200 BALLAD AND OTHER VERSE. 

4. 
There '11 come a day when human love, the sweetest 

Gift that includes the whole 
Of God's grand giving — sovereignest, completest — 

Shall fail to fill my soul. 

6. 
There '11 come a day — I will not care how passes 

The cloud across my sight, 
If only, lark-like, from earth's nested grasses, 

I spring to meet its light. 



SONNETS. 



THE POET'S ANSWER. 

"Whence did it come?" — No conscious thought of mine 

Chose out the theme, as from Carrara's stone 

The sculptor chooses the one block alone 
Best fitted to embody his divine 
Ideal of beauty. But before one line 

Forecasts the form as Fancy sees it shown 

Perfect, or yet a mallet-chip is thrown 
Off from the mass that hides his clear design, — 
Suppose a flash of quick, electric light 

Should daze the sculptor's eye, and he should see 
Step from the stone, evoked as by a spell, 

The statue of his dream, Persephone : 
So sprang my poem forth, revealed to sight ; 

But by what magic wrought, I cannot tell. 



202 SONNETS, 



WE TWO. 

Ah, painful-sweet ! how can I take it in ! 

That somewhere in the illimitable blue 

Of God's pure space, which men call Heaven, we two 
Again shall find each other, and begin 
The infinite life of love, a life akin 

To angels, — only angels never knew 

The ecstasy of blessedness that drew 
Us to each other, even in this world of sin. 

Yea, find each other ! The remotest star 

Of all the galaxies would hold in vain 
Our souls apart, that have been heretofore, 

As closely interchangeable as are 
One mind and spirit : Oh, joy that aches to pain, 

To be together — we two — forever more ! 



SONNETS. 203 



HESTIA. 

O GENTLE Goddess of the Grecian hearth, 

Whose altar was the cheerful tahle spread ; 
Whose sacrifice, the pleasant daily bread. 

Offered with incense of sweet childhood's mirth, 

And parent's priestly ministration, worth 

More than all other rites that ever shed 

Light on the path that those young feet must tread - 

Has thy pure worship ceased from off the earth ? 

We heap new fires ; we overbrim the bowl. 
Yet shiver, hungry. To our inmost shrine. 

The obtrusive world finds way. Abroad we roam, 
In discontent of household oil and wine ; 

And wherefore so ? Because the kindling coal 
We bring not from the sacred hearth of home ! 



204 SONNETS. 



ART'S LIMITATIONS. 

This rich, rank age — does it need giants now, 
Dantes, and Angelos, and Shakespeares ? Nay, 
Its culture is of other sort to-day, 

That concentrates no power — that doth allow 

Growths which divide the strength that should endow 
The one taU trunk — that fails to lop away, 
With wise reserve, the shoots which lead astray 

The wasted sap to some collateral hough. 

Had Dante chiselled stone — had Angelo 

Intrigued at courts — had Shakespeare cramped his 
power 
With critic-gauge of Drayton, Chaucer, Gower — 

What lack there were of that refreshing shade 
Which these high-towered, centurial oaks have made, 

Where walk the happy nations to and fro ! 



SONNETS. 206 



FLOOD-TIDE. 

TO THE POET 



To every artist, howsoe'er his thought 
Unfolds itself before the eyes of men, — 
Whether through sculptor's chisel, poet's pen, 

Or painter's wondrous brush, — there comes, f uU fraught 

With instant revelation, lightning-wrought, 
A moment of supremest heart-swell, when 
The mind leaps to the tidal crest, and then 

Sweeps on triumphant to the harbor sought. 

Wait, eager spirit, till the topping waves 

Shall roll their gathering strength in one, and lift 

From out the swamping trough thy galleon free ; 
Mount with the whirl, command the rush that raves 

A maelstrom round ; then proudly shoreward drift. 
Rich-freighted as an Indian argosy ! 



206 SONNETS. 



ABNEGATION. . 

** The mother of Jesus saith unto Him : They have no wine." 

St. John. 

How countless are the souls for whom the days 

Are empty of all stimulating glow 

That sends the bounding blood with quickened flow 
Along the tingling veins, — who never raise 
Their heavy eyes beyond the flinty ways 

Their daily feet must tread, — who never know 

This world is good, because of cares that so 
Thorn every step of life's laborious maze ! 

The plodding peasants, they must plant and rear, 
And weed and water, that the teeming soil 

May yield its richness to the clustered vine, — 
Must tramp the grapes until their juice run clear 

For lordly lips ; — and yet, for all their toil, 
Taste not the flagon filled : Thei/ have no ivine ! 



SONNETS. 207 



OVER-CONTENT. 

I WOULD not be too happy in the joys 

That so fulfil my life : I would not rest 

Too satisfied, if gifts the very best 
God grants, were mine : — the bliss that never cloys, 
Born of Love's perfectness ; the equipoise 

Exact of flesh and spirit, that keeps youth's zest 

Still at its acme : — genius whose behest 
Art waits upon ; all nature to rejoice 
My sated soul : — Lest, haply, when I hear 

My Father call, child-wise I say, — Let be ; 
So many gracious things Thou givest me, — 

Such store of present good from far and near, 
Such full contentment with my sunny cheer, 

Why should I come ? What need have I for Thee ? 



208 SONNETS. 



IN THE PANTHEON. 

January 17, 1878. 

In all the score of centuries that have fled 
Since the victorious Roman reared on high 
This dome, ceiled with the overarching sky, 

None of the mighty ones, august and dread. 

Whose deeds have won for them an honored bed 
Here, in these statued, seven-fold niches high, 
Have nobler claim than he hath thus to lie, 

Whom Italy to-day bears hither, dead. 

As through yon dome's blue circlet, oft of yore,^ 

They showered white leaves, when votive prayers were 
done. 

So let white benediction-memories fall 

Around this king ; — his service being o'er ; — 

Who found his sundered realm wild Faction's thrall, 
And left it free, compacted, peaceful, one ! 

1 " Formerly, when the Popes officiated here on the day of Pen- 
tecost, white rose-leaves were scattered through the aperture in the 
dome/* 



SONNETS. 209 



MENDELSSOHN'S REWARD. 

Tranced with his matchless skill, the royal pair 
Sat hearkening, while the great composer's hand 
Urged on at will (as if superb command 

0£ the wide waves of sound were his to share), 

Careering harmonies, that brake in rare 
Crowned culminations, as upon the strand 
The over-poise of surge breaks, leaving grand 

Subsiding murmurs on the vibrant air. 

Then spake the Queen : " An hour of pure delight 
Has been your gift to us ; beseech you, say, 

What now can we bestow, our thanks to tell ? 
The kind musician's eye grew softly bright : 
" I am a father ; it would please me well 
To see the royal children at their play." 



210 SONNETS. 



"PHILIP, MY KING." 

TO PHILIP BOURKE MARSTON. 

Thou art the same, my friend, about whose brow, 
In cradle years, a poet twined the lays 
Through which she glorified, in poet's phrase, 

Those splendid eyes, that forced her to avow 

Heart-fealty to thee, her liege, and bow 
Before thy regal looks, with regal praise 
Of more enduring freshness than the bays 

Which blatant crowds bind for their heroes now. 

Had she prevision that above those eyes 
God meant to press His hand, the better so 

To cage the lark-like spirit ? Should it soar 
Too deep into the sapphire of the skies, 

We earthly listeners, standing far below. 
Must fail to catch the ethereal music more. 



SONNETS. 211 



MOODS. 



MORNING. 



It is enough : I feel this golden morn, 
As if a royal appanage were mine, 
Through Nature's queenly warrant of divine 

Investiture. What princess, palace-born, 

Hath right of rapture more, when skies adorn 

Themselves so grandly ? — when the mountains shine 
Transfigured ? — the air exalts the wine ? — 

When pearly purples steep the yellowing corn ? 

So satisfied with all the goodliness 

Of God's good world, — my being to its brim 

Surcharged with utter thankfulness, no less 
Than bliss of beauty, passionately glad. 

Through rush of tears that leaves the landscape dim, 
_J' Who dares," — I cry — " in such a world be sad ? " 



212 SONNETS. 



II. 
NIGHT. 

I PRESS my cheek against the window-pane, 
And gaze abroad into the blank, black space 
Where earth and sky no more have any place. 

Wiped from existence by the expunging rain : 

And as I hear the worried winds complain, 
A darkness darker than the murk whose trace 
Invades the curtained room, is on my face, 

Beneath which life and life's best ends seem vain. 

My proudest aspirations viewless sink 

As yon cloud-blotted hills : hopes that shone bright 
Last eve, as planets, like the stars to-night. 

Are hidden, eclipsed, as never heretofore : 
" weary world," — I cry — " how dare I think 

Thou hast for me one gleam of gladness more ? " 



SONNETS. 213 



HUJVIAN PROVIDENCE. 

I WOULD not, if I could, arrange the how, 
The what, the wherefore of to-morrow's plan : 
Omniscience whose supremest eye doth scan 

All time, all being as one eternal Now, 

Devoid of the stern sequences that bow 
Our wills, and bar their action, only can 
Previse for each of us the bounded span 

To walk or work in, as He shall allow. 

Or if we dare, like Israel of old. 

In unbelief, to seize the manna spread 

In white abundance round our tents to-day, 
Because we doubt of our to-morrow's bread, — 

Not even an Aaron's priestly pot of gold 

Shall keep the o'er-gathered portion from decay ! 



214 SONNETS. 



HORIZONS. 

A PUPIL of the gi^and old Florentine 

Paused at his work, one day, in hopeless guise — 

Head bowed despondent, over-wearied eyes, 
And fingers, whose long labor at the line 
So cramped their force that now they dropt supine : 

The master saw the failure ; yet too wise 

To chide, in letters of the largest size 
Scored " Amplius ! — Amjplius I " o'er the pinched 
design. 

So, when we toil within our narrow groove 
Till energies succumb, and timorous Doubt 

Achieves no conquest, as the days go on, — 
Let but some master-thought the spell disprove, 

By widening our horizons, broadening out 

Our warping views — and lo ! despair is gone ! 



SONNETS. 216 



THE LESSON OF THE LEAF. 

Behold this blade of grass — its lightest sway- 
Owns Nature's touch — the worldling's name for God : 
It does not hold itself erect, nor nod 

Before the breeze, nor turn to meet the day, 

Nor catch the dew-drop dripping from the spray 
Of yonder overarching golden-rod, 
Nor droop a wilted stem upon the sod, 

Save with one instinct only — to obey. 

But man, supreme of God's creation, dares 

Deny His Being's law, and overpass 
All his clear intuitions. Not to him 

Belongs such meed of merit as compares 
Even with the inarticulate praise, — the dim 

Dumb nature-worship of the blade of grass ! 



216 SONNETS, 



WHEREFORE ? 

Had the blind bard of Chios, in the stress 

Of wandering, asked this question, — where would be 
Those marvellous stories, his rich legacy 

To all the ages since ? Had the access 

Of Michael's scorn been potent to repress 
The grand creations, which he, verily. 
Cared not that men should praise, what majesty 

Out of Art's realm were lost ! Had soft idlesse 

To Raphael whispered — " Fling thy brush away 
And take thine ease,"- — what types of beauty were 

Snatched from our vision ! If Cervantes' fare 
Had starved his soul, and braved it to resist 

Each mirthful quip, to dire despair a prey — 

What echoing laughter would the world have missed ! 



SONNETS, 217 



MEDALLION HEADS. 

I. 

SASKIA.i 

The lovely Friesland maiden whom the pride 

Inherent in her old patrician race 

Forbade not to renounce her birthright's place, 
And seek her marriage bliss at Rembrandt's side, 
Had recompense, to Friesland's best denied : 

For, never wearying of the auroral grace 

Of Northern lights that flashed about her face, 
He for all time her beauty glorified. 

Her soul lies mute on each Madonna's mouth ; 

Her blonde hair floats across Bathsheba's breasts ; 
Her mingled snow-and-roses kindle up 

Susannah's cheeks ; as Hagar in her drouth, 
She droops ; and 'mid Ahasuerus' guests 

She sits. Queen Esther with the jewelled cup. 
^ Wife of Rembrandt. 



218 SONNETS. 



II. 
VITTORIA COLONNA. 

Serene and sad and still, she sat apart 
In widowed saintliness, an unvowed nun, 
Whose duty to the world without was done ; 

And yet concealing with unselfish art 

The scars of grief, the pangs of loss, the smart 
Of pain, she suffered not herself to shun 
The hurt, and bruised, and wronged, who one by one 

Sought sanctuary of her cloistered heart. 

But to that loneliest soul, who found in her 

His type of womanhood, supremest set, 
And knew not whether he should kneel or no, — 

Such sweet, strange comfort did she minister, 
That, were this deed her all, the world would yet 

Have loved her for the sake of Angelo ! 



SONNETS. 219 



in. 

LA FORNARINA. 

Who can believe that he was thralled by this ? 
This creature wrought of flesh not over fine, 
With brazen brow, and mouth whose sensual line 

Holds no red sting of rapture in its kiss ? — 

This splendid animal, for whom life is 

Mere pleased existence, pagan, undivine, — 
Without a glimpse of soul, without a sign 

That she could fathom the soundless depths of his ? 

We see the legend on her armlet traced, 
*^ Raphael Urhinas : " yet deny that one 

So born for love, so gracious, calm, and sweet, 
So like a glad Greek god, with beauty graced, 

Could yield to toils such as Calypso spun, — 
Could stoop at such an earthly woman's feet ! 



220 SONNETS. 



TV. 
LUCREZIA.1 

The pretty fooFs face, with its white and red, 
Its perfect oval, its bewitching pout ; 
The nimbus-shine of shimmering hair about 

The Dian curve of brow ; the well-poised head ; 

The rare-ripe, melting form ; the princess' tread, — 
All lured his artist nature to devout 
Love for a siren, who that Art could scout. 

And barter for the gold it brought instead. 

Senza errori : — Florence so did call 

The ma^er Michael loved, and Raphael praised : 
But when Lucrezia breathed her blighting breath 

Across his faultless canvas, thenceforth all 
His genius seemed to shrivel ; till hopeless, crazed, 

His life's mistake found sole redress in death. 
1 Wife of Andrea del Sarto. 



SONNETS. 221 



V. 

FRAU AGNES. 

From page to page they still repeat the wrong, — 
How Agnes, with her shrewish marriage-ways, 
Saddened the gentle Nuremberger's days, 

Until the silken tie became a thong 

Wherewith she pinioned him in bondage strong: 
Yet who can lay his finger on a phrase 
That proves it so ? or cite a word's dispraise 

Of her, his true ' housereckoner ' ^ all life long ? 

One spiteful line has furnished forth the stuff 
Whose hempen coil has strangled the fair name 

Thus filched from Albrecht's wife, the centuries through ; 
For if the love she gave was not enough. 

Or if his bosom nursed some fonder flame 
That perished, surely Agnes never knew. 

^ Durer's playful designation of his wife in his letters. 



222 SONNETS. 



VI. 

QUINTIN MATSYS' BRIDE. 

An artist's daughter, she, — a toiler, he, 

At the grim forge : all Antwerp well might stare 
Upon him as a madman, that he dare 

Aspire to hope, in face of the decree 

Passed by parental pride, — that none should be 
Received as suitor who should fail to bear 
In hand — his own true work — a picture rare 

Enough to prove his worth of such as she. 

Yet nothing is impossible to Love : 

Soon through the city rang the cry abroad, — 

" Behold the miracle of Matsys' Saint ! " 
Blind Genius felt Art's touch, as of a god ; 

Had faith and saw ! — And graven still above 

His head, we read : ''Love taught the smith to paint J^ ^ 

" Connuhialis amor de Mulcihre fecit Apellem.''^ — Inscription on 
the Cathedral wall at Antwerp. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 



TO MY LITTLE ART-LOVERS, 

MARGARET AND JANET. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 



LEONARDO'S ANGEL.^ 

PIETRO DA VINCI.^ 

You see this boy, — a spoiled and restless lad 
Who needs must fret his father, — (eh, my boy ?) 
With projects changeful as the hours, nor yet 
In any find content ? From chosen sports 
Among the Alban hills, with horses, hounds, 
And contadini, — here he flurries back 
To Florence, and once more is at his tricks 
. Of carving, daubing panels, and the like, — 
Your most refractory pupil, as I deem. 
And nothing now will serve but that he watch 

^ Art-visitors to Florence will recall the Angel — painted by Leo- 
nardo when a pupil of Verocchio — which, in a corner of one of 
this master's frescoes, seenas to light up the whole dark picture. 

2 Father of Leonardo. 



224 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

You at distemper-work, which he will j&nd 
Needs just a hint from him to perfect it : 
For the young arrogant has never owned 
Distrust of self since he was tall enough 
To draw my poniard forth, and scare his nurse 
With passes — 

LEONARDO. 

Nay, but father, grant me now 
Tlie skill for what I can do ; — curb the colt 
That 's wildest in your stalls ; — lead on the hounds, 
And fly the hawks : or from an ilex-knot. 
Carve out a shrine, my sister praises more 
Than Donatello's cuttings ; or frame flutes 
You own make music to your mind : or paint 
A saint's face for some teasing servant-maid 
To say her prayers to ; or — 

VEROCCHIO. 

modest youth ! 
Will panels not content you, that you even 
Must brave your master in his chosen line ? 
I dare be sworn you think his practised hand 
Would yield to yours, upon a frescoed wall ! 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 225 

LEONARDO. 

Just since I *ve watched your way, my fingers itch 
To snatch a brush, and try — 

PIETRO. 

That shall he not ! 
Forthwith he '11 want to drag our hangings down, 
And splash us round with hunting-scenes, and make 
Our dining-hall tumultuous. 

LEONARDO. 

Father, pray — 
If but my master trust me with his tools — 
Just once ! — the cunning little angel there, 
Half-outlined in the corner : let me flood 
Him into rosiness ; I can — I can / 

PIETRO. 

You always want your way : Verocchio, chide 
Your pupil's insolence. 

VEROCCHIO. 

I '11 blot his work 
Easy enough, my lord ; so let him daub : 



226 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

'T will do him good to fail. 

(Leonardo seizes a brush, and paints vehemently.) 

PIETRO. 

Why, boy ! eh, boy ! 
I did not dream you could : Verocchio, see : 
That angel has this moment dropped from heaven ! 

VEROCCHIO. 

San Luca ! why, I never dreamed of this ! 
I let no pupil watch me while I work 
In mortar : yet the boy hath caught the art 
Unlessoned : what a touch is his ! and look, — 
His strayling clouds my angels out of sight ! 

PIETRO. 

So ! so ! he mars your picture thus — confess ! 
But here 's a purse. How shall I make amends ? 

VEROCCHIO. 

You never can : Why, that one vision there. 
Cheapens my work below my own contempt, 
And turns my saints to purgatorial souls 
Whom I begin to hate. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 227 

PIETRO. 

Nay, nay ! wipe out 
The interloper then : he shall not stay 
To vex you : 't is a varlet's trick to chafe 
Your patience so. 

VEROCCHIQ. 

But he shall stay, to prove 
That fifty years of skill must yield before 
The genius that can pluck, at one first grasp, 
The heart of all my hard-won secrets out. 
Throw by your narrow panels, boy, and match 
With frescoes' breadth, your strength — 

LEONARDO. 

Ha ! say you so ? 
— The very hungriest of my desires I 
My angel, see, entreats. 1 '11 make the walls 
Of our grim chapel in the Apennines 
Alive with flowery wreaths of seraphs, till 
My father even will fancy that he walks 
In Paradise, with Dante, whom he loves. 



228 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 
VEROCCHIO. 

And I, from this day forward, I fling down 
My brush forever ! Fifty years of pains 
Quenched by the maiden effort of fifteen ! 
Let genius have its way ; — I paint no more. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 229 



GIOTTO'S FIRST PICTURE. 

A. D. 1286. 

Through the Tuscan meadows dewy- 
Walked the painter, Cimabue ; 
Full of fancies sweet and holy, 
On and on he rambled slowly, 
Till he saw the pastures spotted 
White with flocks, like daisies dotted 
O'er the grass ; and close behind them, 
One small shepherd-lad to mind them. 
Still as any stock of mullein, 
There he sat ; not sad nor sullen, 
Though without a comrade near him, 
And with only sheep to cheer him. 

Round about, the flock came trooping, 
Yet the boy sat quiet — stooping 
O'er a broad, flat stone before him, 
With the sunshine flooded o'er him. 
Stepping through the verdure dewy, 
O'er his shoulder Cimabue 



230 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

Leaned and watched with silent wonder, 
For he saw clear outlined, under 
Fingers coal-begrimed and blackened, — 
Nor for him their labor slackened. 
As he stood there, — portrait-traces 
Of his flock's unconscious faces. 
Drawn as never yet he saw them, 
Drawn as never he could draw them. 

" Little shepherd, who did teach you 
Drawing ? tell me, I beseech you ! 
(And the questioner's eye was dewy) 
He who asks is Cimabue." 

Up the boy sprang, startled, blushes 
Crimsoning his face with flushes ; 
" — Not the painter ! Ah, if only 
I could meet him wandering lonely 
Through these pastures, I would ask him 
Whether I might dare to task him, 
Just to show, with lightest traces 
How he draws his angel-faces ! " 

" Yes, the painter ! I will take you 
Home with me, my boy, and make you 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 231 

Such a maestro as I never 
Could be, if I drew forever ! '* 

So to Florence in its beauty 
Giotto came ; and true to duty, 
Wrought and studied, fast and faster, 
Till he grew the greatest master 
Of a time when arts were scanty : 
He it was who painted Dante ; 
And the martyrs, saints, and sages 
Of those picture-loving ages. 
But his genius came to flower 
When he reared the marvellous Tower, 
Graceful as a Tuscan lily. 
Which they called the Campanile. 

Little tourist, if you ever 

Visit Florence, you will never — 

Be your art-love stronger, fainter — 

Quite forget the shepherd-painter. 

You will think upon his story ; 

You will go to Del Fiore, 

And the guide will show the grotto 

There, in which they buried Giotto. 



232 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS, 



FRA ANGELICO'S BOYHOOD. 

A. D. 1412. 

Come Marco, and see the grotto where 
Our little maestro goes for prayer, 
And paints with a sort of rapture there. 

Not know him ? — Why he is the childlike saint. 
With whom the village is all acquaint, 
Who never does aught but pray and paint. 

And he is the boy who walked away 
Across the valley, one bright spring day, 
To find Masaccio — as they say : 

That so he might learn of the Master, how 
Rightly to circle Our Lady's brow 
With a halo she wears in glory now. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 233 

And oh ! but he draws her wondrous fair, 
Such splendor behind her golden hair — 
And garments as blue as the summer air ! 

And the best of it is — he makes you feel, 
Unless you Ve a heart as hard as steel. 
There 's nothing for you to do but kneel ! 

They say that before his lip could frame 

A syllable's sound, one day there came 

From his baby mouth — Our Lord's dear name. 

And all of his early childish plays 

Had something to do with churchly ways — 

And his songs, if he sang, were songs of praise. 

When the scarlet poppies were all a-blow, 
Away to the wheat-fields he would go. 
And gather the finest ones that grow, — 

Purple and yellow, blue and white. 
And hasten home with a strange delight, 
And out of them make a wondrous sight. 



234 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS, 

Such cardinals in their crimson dress ! 
Such bishops with fingers raised to bless ! 
Such nuns in their snowy loveliness ! 

And then to his grotto would he call 
His chosen companions, one and aU, 
And there on his knees devoutly fall. 

No wonder they call him The Little Saint, 
For now that he 's old enough to paint, 
They tell me he weeps without restraint, 

Low-bowed in the dust — and asks for grace 
Before he will let his pencil trace 
A single line of Our Lady's face ! 

One day he will be a monk, I trow. 
Already his comrades deeming so. 
Have christened him Fra Angelico. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 235 



BEHIND THE ARRAS. 

A. D. 1486. 

I. 

" Nay, father, 't is weary day by day, 
In stones and in metals to work away 
At the goldsmith's tiresome trade *' — 

'< Ah, so ? 
A * tiresome trade ! * I 'd have thee know 
That silver and gold are precious things, 
And the gems we cut are gems for kings 
To wear in their crowns " — 

" But, father, hear ! 
Thou ever hast been so kind and dear, 
That now I am bold to ask what yet 
I never ventured — that thou wouldst let 
Me follow my bent ; for I would paint 
Pictures of many and many a saint 
For the shrines where people kneel ; and when 



236 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

I come to be famous, father, then 
Thy heart will flutter with inward joy, 
To think that the painter is thy boy." 

" The whim of a lad ! What proof have I 
Of the bent thou boastest? " 

" Let me try 
The strength there is in me. Let me take 
A panel just like Van Eyck's, and make 
No holy Madonna thereon, nor Christ, 
Nor such as the masters have sufficed, 
But only myself : for I will place 
Yon Flemish mirror before my face, 
And copy the form I find therein ; 
And then, if the portrait fails to win 
The recognition of those who go 
To school with me every day — why, so 
1 11 bend to thy will, and own I 'rn made 
To follow my father's goldsmith trade. 
Do the terms content thee ? '* 

" Yea, if thou, 
Unaided, dost paint a portrait now. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 237 

Which all at St. Sebald's school agree 
Can only be thine — well, then we '11 see 
Which craftman's tools are the tools for thee." 

II. 
" My picture is finished, father. Call 
The boys of St. Sebald, one and all, 
Straight into the shop. On a panel there, 
Near the head Van Eyck has painted, where 
They well can see it, my work is hung, 
With an antique bit of arras flung 
Round it, whereby, in sooth, I meant 
To make them believe it came from Ghent." 

" Well, well, as thou wilt. My silver dove 
Is finished, and ready to perch above 
St. Barbara's shrine. (The one, I wis, 
Let loose by Noah was like to this. 
As it flew from the ark so pure and white.) 
The scholars will want to come to-night, — 
For I promised them all, the other day 
They should see it before it was sent away — 
And then, as I said, if they declare 
That thine are the eyes, the mouth, the hair — 



238 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

Just thine and none other's — why, thou mayst use 
Thy will, and have leave which craft to choose. 
— Ah, here are the boys ! 

— My task is done, 
Sweet lads ! Is the dove a pretty one ? " 

" One lovelier never cleaved the sky ! 
Aye, marry, it seems about to fly : 
Look, Jan ! it verily winks its eye 
At Albrecht yonder, who hides, I ween, 
A little beyond the arras screen ! " 

" No Albrecht is there : he left the door 
Just only a moment or two before 
Ye entered '* — 

" Who then, who then, is he 
That under the arras stares at me ? 
'T is Albrecht Durer, beyond a doubt ! 
Ho, comrades, I think we can drag him out ! 

" Ah, me I That settles the pact I made : 
The boy will give up an honest trade 
For the silly brush ; yet, mayhap, some day 
The world shall hear of him — who can say ! " 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS, 239 



THE MILAN BIRD-CAGES. 

A. D. 1485. 

I. 

Just four hundred years ago, 

(You may like to know) — 
In a city old and quaint, 
Lived a painter who could paint 
Knight or lady, child or saint, 

With so rich a glow, 
And such wondrous skill as none 
In the Land of Art had done. 

n. 
Should you ever chance to take 
(As you will) a foreign tour, 
Milan you will see, I 'm sure. 

For the Master's sake. 
And be shown, in colors dim, 
One grand picture drawn by him — 



240 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS, 

Christ's Last Sujpper, If your eyes 
Fall, while gazing, no surprise 
Need be either yours or mine. 
O'er that face divine. 

ni. 
Then in Paris, if you go 
To the great Louvre Gallery, where 
Miles of paintings make you stare 
Till your eyes ache, th«y will show 
As they point the finest out, 
One the world goes mad about — 
Such a portrait, all the while 
How it haunts you with its smile, 

Lovely Mona Lisa ! she 
Can't be bought for gold, you see ; 
Not if kings should come to buy, 

— Let them try ! 

IV. 

Oft the Master used to go 
(Old Vasari tells us so) 
To the market where they sold 
Birds, in cages gay with gold, 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS, 241 

Brightly tipped on wing and crest, 
Trapped just as they left the nest. 
Thither went he day by day, 
Buying all within his way, 
Making the young peasants glad, 
Since they sold him all they had ; 
And no matter what his store, 
Counting birds and cages o'er, 
He was always buying more. 

V. 

" Wherefore buy so many ? *' Well, 
That 's just what I 'm going to tell. 
Soon as he had bought a bird, 
O'er his upturned head was heard 
Such a trill, so glad, so high, 
Dropped from out the sunny sky 
Down into his happy heart ; 
Filling it as naught else could — 
Naught save his beloved Art — • 
Full of joy, as there he stood 
Holding wide the wicker door. 
Watching the bright captives soar 
Deep into the blue. You see 



242 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

Why he bought so many : He 
Did it just to set them free. 

VI. 

Love I Leonardo so 
For his splendid pictures . — No ! 
But for his sweet soul, so stirred 
By a little prisoned bird. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 243 



LITTLE TITIAN'S PALETTE. 

High up in the Vale of Cadore 
Encompassed by mountains as wild 

As the wildness of gloom and of glory 
Could make them, dwelt Titian, the child. 

The snow-covered ridges and ranges, 

The gorges as dusky as night, 
The cloud-wracks, the shadows, the changes, 

All filled him with dreams of delight. 

The flush of the summer, the duller 
White sheen of the winter abroad, 

Would move him to ecstasy : color. 
To him, was a vision of God. 

Enraptured his mother would hold him 
With legends that never sufficed 

To tire him out, as she told him 
Of Mary, the Mother of Christ. 



244 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

" How blue are her eyes ? " he would ask her; 
" As blue as the harebells I know ; 
And her cheek ? " — (it was so he would task her) • 
" Is her cheek like a rose under snow ? " 

So stirred with the spell of the stores 

One day as he wandered alone 
Deep into the Vale of Cadore, 

Where blossoms by thousands were strown, 

He suddenly cried : "I will paint her ! 

The darling Madonna ! — for, see, 
These anemone-buds are not fainter 

Than the tint of her temples must be ! 

" Who ever saw violets bluer ? 

Their stain is the stain of the skies ; 
So what could be sweeter or truer 
For tingeing the blue of her eyes ? 

" This rose — why, the sunsets have fed her 
Till she looks like a rose of the South ; 
I never saw one that was redder ; 
Oh, that, I will keep for her mouth ! 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 245 

*' Yon blood-root, as brown as October, 
Is just what I want for her hair ; 
And the juice of this gentian shall robe her 
In garments an angel might wear ! " 

Thus the picture was painted. Long after, 

In Venice, the Bride of the Sea, 
When he sat amid feasting and laughter. 

With guests of the noblest degree — 

When his name, and his fame, and his glory, 
To the height of the highest arose ; 

And Titian, the child of Cadore, 

Was Titian, the Master — who knows 

If ever his world-widened powers 
Were touched with so tender a grace 

As when, from his palette of flowers. 
He painted that marvellous face ! 



246 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 



MICHAEL'S MALLET. 



Long, long ago in the olden day, 

On a slope of the Tuscan hills, there lay 

A village with quarries compassed round, 

And blocks of marble that strewed the ground. 

And cumbered the streets : and everywhere. 

With hammer and chisel, and rule and square, 

And cap of paper ardust and white. 

The masons sat chipping from morn till night. 

n. 

The earliest sound that the boy had heard 
Was neither the whistle nor pipe of bird. 
Nor bleating of lambs, nor rush of breeze 
Through the tops of swaying chestnut trees, 
Nor laughter and song, nor whoop and shout 
Of the school at the convent just let out : 
Nor tinkle of waters plashing sweet 
From the dolphin's mouth in the village street. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 247 

in. 

But first in the morning, sharp and clear, 

Came ever to Michael's drowsy ear, 

As he waked from slumber, the mallet's knock, 

Or the stroke of the hammer that shaped the block. 

From the dawn of the day till the twilight came, 

The clink of the tools was still the same. 

And steadily still the ceaseless chip 

Kept time to the fountain's dreamy drip. 

IV. 

And when he could toddle beyond the door 
Of the cottage, in search of a plaything more, 
Or venture abroad — a little lad, 
What toys do you think were the first he had ? 
Why, splinters of marble white and pure. 
And a mallet to break them with, be sure. 
And a chisel to shape them, should he choose, 
Just such as he saw the masons use. 



So Michael the baby had his way, 

And hammered and clipped, and would n't play 



248 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

With the simple and senseless sort of toys 

That pleased the rest of the village boys. 

They laughed at the little churches he 

With toil would rear at his nurse's knee ; 

They scouted the pictures that he drew 

On the polished slabs with a coal or two ; 

They jeered and they mocked him when he tried 

To model, from rubbish cast aside, 

Rude forms — and screamed " Scultore I " when 

His bits of marble he shaped like men. 

VI. 

But who of them dreamed his mallet's sound 
Would ever be heard the world around ? 
Or his mimic churches in time become 
The mightiest temple in Christendom ? 
Or the pictures he painted fill the dome 
Of the Sistine's wonderful walls in Rome ? 
Or the shapings rude of his moulded clay 
Be statues that witch the world to-day ? 
Or the baby that chiselled the splinters so 
Be the marvellous Michael Angelo ! 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 249 



GUIDO'S COMPLAINT. 

Bologna, 1585. 

Ah — what shall I do ? They have taken away 
My paper and pencils and brushes, and say 
I must keep to the harpsichord day after day. 

My father is fretted because he foresees 

I have not the musical genius to please 

The taste of these lute-loving, gay Bolognese. 

My mother — dear heart ! there is pain in her look, 
When she finds me withdrawn in some tapestried nook, 
Bent over my drawing instead of my book. 

And so, as it daily is coming to pass. 

She chides me with idleness, saying, " alas ! 

They tell me my Guido *s the dunce of his class ! " 



250 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

And Friar Tomasso, the stupid old fool ! 

Because on my grammar, instead of the rule 

I had pencilled his likeness, has whipped me in school. 

The boys leaning over, with shoutings began — 
" Oh ho ! Little Guido Rene is the man 
To step after Raphael, if any one can ! " 

I drew on the side of my chamber, in faint 
And delicate outlines, the head of a saint : 
My mother has blotted it over with paint. 

With coals from the brazier I sketched on the wall 

Great Caesar returning triumphant from Gaul : 

The maids brought their whitewash, and covered it all. 

And yesterday after the set of the sun, 

(I had practised the lute and my lessons were done ;) 

I went to the garden, and choosing me one 

Of the plots yet unplanted, I levelled it fair, 

And traced with my finger the famed Gracchan pair 

Of brothers : there 's now not a trace of them there. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 251 

I£ only Antonio Caracci could see 

My drawings, and know how I 'm thwarted, — ah, he 

Is a painter, and so would be sorry for me ! 

Oh the pictures — the pictures that crowd to my eye ! 

If they never will let me have brushes to try 

And paint them — Madonna ! I think I shall die ! 



252 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 



CLAUDE'S JOURNEY. 

A. D. 1602. 
JACQUES. 

Whither go you, Master Claude, 
With your alpenstock in hand, 
And across your breast a band 
Like a pedlar, — and a pack 
Far too heavy on your back 
For a boy of twelve ? — I say, 
None but guides should be abroad 
Such a wild and wintry day : 
What is taking you away ? 

Is not Freiburg just the place 
For a skilful lad like you, 
Who can cut and carve so true, 
Copying Nature's nicest grace ? 
Has that meddling old lace-vender 
Come to tempt you to surrender 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 263 

All the blessings Jean Gel^e 
Heaps upon you day by day ? 

Stay and carve your carvings here 
In our Freiburg : You are dear 
To us all : But otherwhere 
Who will praise your work, or care 
If you thrive, or meet disaster, — 
If you are a drudge or master ? 

Let the old lace-vender go : 
He has told you tales I know, 
Of that far-off Italy, 
Till, mayhap, you 're crazed to see 
What its sights of beauty be. 

CLAUDE. 

Nay, good Jacques, — 1 'm fain to go 
Where I '11 see no Alpine snow — 
Where the grim Black Forest's glades 
Cannot scare me with their shades ; 
Caring not though I should roam 
Bare-foot over mountains wild. 
Like a very gypsy's child. 
So that I but get to Rome — 



254 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

Rome where Michael lived and wrought — . 
Rome where Raphael painted — where 
I shall hreathe that living air, 
Out of which these masters caught 
Something — ah, I know not what ! 

Stay and carve in Freihurg ? — Why 
I am mad to paint that sky, — 
Stretched so blue above the pines 
Of those distant Apennines — 
Out of heaven, and fix it fast 
In such pictures as shall last 
Through the ages. 

JACQUES. 

Drawn, they '11 say, 



By some straggler — one Gel^e ? 

CLAUDE. 

No ! through me some fame shall come, 
— You shall see it — to that home 

Where with brothers at my side, 
All my childhood was a joy — 

Where until our father died, 
Never breathed a happier boy ! 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 255 

Oh ! I 'U bring their out-of-doors 

Into gloomy Roman halls : 
Oh ! I '11 glorify their walls 

With a sunshine such as pours 
Through that Southern atmosphere, 

Colors never dreamed of here ! 

So — I '11 reach the master's place, 

Striving for the noblest fame : 
And if strangers, seeing grace 

In my pictures, ask my name. 
What bethink you I will say 
To their question ? Claude GelSe ? 
Claude, the Freiburg Carver ? Nay ! 

On my cheek the flush will glow 

While my words come proud and slow. 
All my patriot blood will swell 

As my childhood's home again, 
With its beautiful Moselle 

Gleams before my vision plain. 
And I '11 answer — Claude Lorraine I ^ 



^ After Claude became a great painter, he abandoned his family 
name of Gel^e and is known in Art only as Claude Lorraine. 



256 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 



THE BOY VAN DYCK. 

A. D. 1608. 

In the grey old Flemish city, . 

Sat a comely, fair-haired dame, 
At a window's deep embrasure, 

Bending o'er her broidery-frame. 
Round her played her merry children, 

As they wound about their heads 
Fillets, pilfered in their mischief, 

From her skeins of arras-threads. 

Oft she turned her glance upon them, 

Softly smiling at their play, 
All the while her busy needle 

Pricking in and out its way ; 
From the open casement gazing. 

Where the landscape lay in view. 
Striving from her silken treasures. 

To portray each varied hue. 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 257 

" Nay, I cannot," sighed she sadly, 

As the threads dropped from her hold, 
** Cannot match that steely sapphire, 
Or that line of burnished gold. 
How it sparkles as it stretches 

Straight as any lance across ! 
Never hint of such a lustre 

Lives within my brightest floss ! 

^' Ah that blaze of splendid color ! 

I could kneel with folded hands, 
As I watch it slowly dying 

Off the emerald pasture-lands. 
How my crimson pales to ashen. 

In this flood of sunset hue. 
Mocking all my poor endeavor. 

Foiling all my skill can do ! " 

As they heard her sigh, the children 
Pressed around their mother's knees : 
" Nay " — they clamored — " where in Antwerp 
Are there broideries such as these ? 

Why, the famous master, Rubens, 
Craves the piece we think so rare, — 



258 CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 

Asks our father's leave to paint it 
Flung across the Emperor's chair ! " 

" How ye talk ! " — she smiled. " Yet often, 

As I draw my needle through, 
Gloating o'er my tints, I fancy 

I might be a painter too : 
I, a woman, wife, and mother, 

What have I to do with Art ? 
Are not ye my noblest pictures ? 

Portraits painted from my heart ! 

" Yet, 1 think, if midst my seven, 

One should show the master's bent, — 
One should do the things I dream of, — 

All my soul would rest content." 
Straight the four-year-old Antonio 
Answered, sobbing half aloud : 
" I will be your painter, painting 

Pictures that shall made you proud ! " 

Quick she snatched this youngest darling, 
Smoothing down his golden hair, 

Kissing with a crazy rapture. 

Mouth and cheek and forehead fair — 



CHILDHOOD OF THE OLD MASTERS. 259 

Saying mid her sobbing laughter, 

" So ! my baby ! you would like 
To be named with Flemish Masters, 

Rembrandt, Rubens, and — Van Dyck / " ^ 

^ The mother of Van Dyck was celebrated for her beautiful tap- 
estry work. From her, her distinguished son inherited that taste 
for lucid color which has given him the name of " The Silvery Van 
Dyck." 



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