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Full text of "Forgotten shrines"

959 
P2.45 



UC-NRLF 



B 3 33b DOS 




PUBLISHER S NOTE 

THE Tale Series of Younger Poets is designed to afford a publishing me 
dium for the work of young men and women who have not yet secured a 
wide public recognition. It will include only such verse as seems to give the 
fairest promise for the future of American poetry, to the development 
of which it is hoped that the Series may prove a stimulus. Communications 
concerning manuscripts should be addressed to the Editor, Professor Charl- 
ton M. Lewis, 425 St. Ronan Street, New Haven, Connecticut. 

VOLUMES ISSUED, OR PLANNED FOR 
EARLY PUBLICATION 

I. THE TEMPERING. By Howard Buck. 
II. FORGOTTEN SHRINES. By John C. Farrar. 



Forgotten Shrines 



JOHN CHIPMAN FARRAR 




NEW HAVEN - YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON HUMPHREY MILFORD OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

MDCCCCXIX 



COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY 
YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS 



1A 

-I 



TO MY MOTHER 



I. PORTRAITS 

Six of the poems in the following group received the eight 
eenth award of the prize offered by Professor Albert Stan- 
burrough Cook to Yale University for the best unpublished 
verse, the Committee of Award consisting of Professors Chaun- 
cey B. Tinker, of Yale University, Alfred Xoyes, of Princeton 
University, and Edward Mims, of Vanderbilt University. 



A SACRISTAN. 

SOMETIMES on summer noons the silence grows 
Unbearable ; but then I sweep and dust 
The images, or polish off the rust 
Blackening the twisted brass. At curfew time 
I ring the bell, and then, it seems, the chime 
Looks in my heart and knows. 

There are so very many little things 

Each day perhaps you might not understand 

The joy of reaching out a quiet hand 

To touch the cross ; or once it w r as at night 

Suddenly all the hushed blue church grew white 

With holy angels wings. 



THEY tell me there are gleaming stars afar, 
Golden and silver-white I cannot tell 
Whether they lie who speak. Stars may as well 
Be crimson or blue or darting green-tongued flames ; 
To me they are but hollow, far-sung names 
I know not what they are. 

They tell me how the world and life began : 

Some talk of fire-wrought worlds, some mystics dream 

Of distant heavens with cherubim agleam. 

I care not whether they have seen or know ; 

But this is true my heart has told me so 

God was and is a man. 



10 



A HILL-SIDE FARMER. 

DAWN and the mist across the silent lane ; 
Each day its little round of petty tasks. 
Are you not very lonely *? someone asks, 
Here where the old folks stay, and no one new 
Comes in to start a farm 4 ? You should go, too; 
Valleys grow better grain. 

This may seem still and lonely, but for me 
Hill-tops are wider than the open land. 
Maybe you never could quite understand 
How dear it is to me this loneliness. 
You think the hills are narrowing, I guess ; 
But, oh, how far we see ! 



i i 



A HILL-WOMAN. 

YOU D think I d hate the hills ? well, this life brings 
Little that s new. Once many years ago 
I thought I d leave the place and flee below, 
Down where the world is bright with life and change, 
But I met him, and now it s very strange 
How marriage changes things. 

Listen ! beyond that grove (you would not know) 
A hermit thrush, it sings round five each night ! 
One moment now, and he will come in sight 
Driving the chestnut mare ! There, that s his call ! 
7 hate the hills? How could I, now, at all, 
Knowing he loves them so ? 



12 



A NURSE. 

I CAN remember quiet times, and those 
When you had tired yourself with riotous play ; 
Then we would sit, and while the passing day 
With fairy tales of lands beyond the sun. 
You loved me, then, completely not as one 
Who does her work and goes. 

I saw you yesterday. Your hair is light ; 
We thought it would be darker. Oh, why, why 
Did you not know me as I passed you by ? 
Have I grown old *? You could not be too proud. 
You might have spoken, yes, or only bowed, 
Or have you forgotten, quite *? 



A COAL-MINER. 

How dark it is ! This time the load is big 
And heavier. Somehow, it is so far 
Up to the places where the carloads are. 
All I can see is her face, as she sat 
Coughing and weakening, just for need of that 
Which I could only dig. 

It was so cold that year, and damp, beside. 
Wages were low, and every day I d pile 
The shining lumps in heaping baskets, while 
I knew she needed it. You would have thought 
I could have stolen some ; but I was caught. 
She had a chill and died. 



A BARGE-WIFE. 

How many days now is it we have lain 
Here by the towering docks ? I do not know : 
Each day, eager and free, the sail-boats go 
Out to the west. I would go swiftly, too, 
Like a bird at dawn across the opening blue, 
Like a bird to rest again. 

He has grown silent with the years men do 
Having talked the same thing much. For my part now 
It is enough to watch the huge boats plow 
Furrows of white ; to cook, to sew, to hear 
Her little laughing voice ! Yet God, I fear 
Lest she be barge-wed, too. 



A FRENCH WOMAN. 

I CAME upon him in the hush of night, 
His eyes looked up and they were close to death. 
I took him close, his weary, halting breath 
Eased, and he spoke feverish, swift, but clear, 
Voicing over and over the hideous fear 
That they had lost the fight ! 

Ah ! Would they had ! Our fearful, burning loss 

Cried through my soul how could I stoop and bless 

His alien heart with our own helplessness *? 

Yes, yes, I breathed, You won ! His great fear slipped 

To the night. And dying, his chill hand gripped 

A cruel iron cross. 



16 



A NUN. 

HE died at morning. I was nursing then ; 
The priest had shriven him, and his soul was white ; 
But in the cruel stillness of that night 
His tired eyes opened and his hand sought mine. 
I took it softly. Pardon me, divine 
Mary, Mother of men. 

Then, first, I noticed his strong face, grown thin, 
The yearning fever of his lips, the eyes 
That longed for comfort. Was I too unwise 
To stoop, and in the unseeing darkness, kiss 
Away his fear of death*? O speak, was this, 
Marv, a fearful sin*? 



II. SONGS FOR CHILDREN AND OTHERS 



A PREFERENCE. 

SOME children like gay weather, 
When the world is dry for play ; 
But that s so quiet and stupid, 
I like a windy day ; 

When the gray clouds hide the sky, 
And the furry white clouds sink low, 

And the thunder-heads tumble over the hill 
From where, I don t quite know ; 

W T hen small drops rustle the leaves, 
And large drops bend the flowers, 

Pounding the dusty turn-pike 
Rain, rain for hours and hours, 

Till the big brooks jump down the mountain, 
And the little brooks cover the plain, 

Oh, yes, I like the rainy days, 

When the world gets clean again. 



21 



PROBLEM. 

FOUR bright pennies in a purse of brown. 
Shall I buy mamma a purple gown, 
Or a cart to drive her round the town, 
Or shall I salt the money down*? 
Four bright pennies in a purse of brown. 

Four bright windows where the street-car stops, 

Oh lollypops ! Oh lollypops ! 

And two-for-a-penny lemon drops 

Such fascinating candy shops ! 

Four bright windows where the street-car stops. 



22 



TRAGEDY. 

WHY are my good dreams all done up 
In boxes quite so small *? 
They stop at just the nicest parts, 
I d like to dream them all ! 

I dreamed a fairy princess came 

And promised me a kiss, 
But just before she paid I woke 

Now what a thing to miss ! 



ROLLER-SKATES. 

RJMBLE, rumble, rumble, goes the gloomy "L," 
And the street-car rattles on as well, 
Motor-trucks wheeze and limousines purr, 
Everything is noisy all the world s a-stir ! 
Bang-whirr! Bang-whirr! We ll join, too, 
The pavement may be dirty, but the sky s clean blue ! 

Whiz by the lady with the funny little girl, 

Swing round the corner in a gleeful whirl ! 

Don t bump the fat man, jump the other way, 

Yell a little, shout a little, "Hip-horray !" 

Everybody s busy we ll be busy, too, 

The pavement may be dirty, but the sky s clean blue ! 



SHOPS. 

AJXT ALICE has a birthday, 
And I ve shopped all afternoon, 
I haven t bought a single thing, 
I ll have to very soon ; 

But twenty cents is such a lot, 

And she s so very nice 
That I must be most sure to get 

The best thing for the price. 



ALONE. 

WHITE daisies are down in the meadow, 
And queer little beetles and things, 
And sometimes nice rabbits and field-mice 
And black-birds with red on their wings. 

I want to explore all alone, 

With nobody spying around, 
All alone, all alone, all alone ! 

It has such a wonderful sound. 

Just I on the dusty town road, 

With my bank money safe in my purse. 
Do you think I shall ever grow up*? 

Or shall I just always have nurse? 



26 



SONG FOR A CAMPER. 

Up ! Up ! The sky s afloat 
With dawn cool dawn 
And the mad robin s note ! 
Down to the lake, 
The whole world s awake. 
Plunge down, down, 
Glad arms out-thrown, 
Through the crinkle of spray 
In the keen new day ; 
With joy a-tingle in heart and limb, 
Down, boys, down for the morning swim ! 



SONG FOR A CHILD TOSSING A BUBBLE. 

SWIFT! Swift! Whirling, 
Headlong, petal-hurling. 
Wind, wind, whither blowing*? 
Take me where brown brooks are flowing; 
Where the white-fringed orchid s growing. 
Wind, wind, whither blowing? 

Up ! Up ! Dancing, 
Through the meadows glancing. 
Bubble, bubble, whither flying? 
Lead me where new hay is lying 
And the plaintive thrush is crying. 
Bubble, bubble, whither flying? 

Dreams ! Dreams ! Stealing, 

White-winged birds a-wheeling. 

Sleep, sleep, whither straying? 

Soothe me where bright clouds are graying, 

And silver dream fountains are playing. 

Sleep, sleep, whither straying? 



28 



SONG FOR A FORGOTTEN SHRINE TO PAN. 

COME to me, Pan, with your wind-wild laughter, 
Where have you hidden your golden reed "? 
Pipe me a torrent of tune-caught madness, 
Come to me, Pan, in my lonely need. 

Where are the white-footed youths and the maidens, 
Garlanded, rosy-lipped, lyric with spring*? 

They tossed me poppies, tall lilies and roses 

And now but the winds their soft blown petals bring. 

Where are the fauns and the nymphs and the satyrs *? 

Where are the voices that sang in the trees *? 
Beauty has fled like a wind-startled nestling, 

Beauty, O Pan, and your sweet melodies. 

Come to me ! Come to me ! God of mad music, 
Come to me, child of the whispering night. 

Bring to all silences, torrents of music, 
People all shadows with garlands of light. 



29 



ire 

(Suggested by Euripides Bacchantes.) 

COME from the dusk with your gold locks glinting, 
Maidens with fire-eyes, white-footed maidens. 
Gird up your fawn-skins, leap to the mountains, 
Dionysus calls you come ! 

The pine trees sway as we leap to their branches. 
The night wind laughs as we fly on its wings, 
We whirl the stars with our wanton thyrsi, 
Dionysus calls we come! 

Bathe in the fountains of milk and of honey, 
Crush with your dances, the new-plucked grapes, 
Drink ruby madness, drink crystal pleasure, 
Dionysus calls you come ! 

We will dance with the fauns and the leaping stars, 
We will drink cups of night and of dawn, 
We will follow, follow your gleaming smile 
You call, Dionysus, we come! 



LALAGE AND THE SATYR. 

LALAGE : 

SEE ! White ghosts are stealing through the trees, 
The stars are dripping, dripping endlessly, 
All frozen and their old fire noiselessly 
Before the wind into blue dimness flees. 

Last night I saw a black-winged bat that flew 
Through all the diamond cob-webs of the moon, 
Where Puck was wont to dance with flaming shoon 
Where light, and joy, and love were born and grew. 

Ah, where is Bacchus and his golden train *? 
The leprecauns and nymphs have fled away, 
Mars gleaming helm, grown iron, Venus gray, 
Ah, yes, the golden stars are dripping rain. 

SATYR : 

The reeds are broken by the riverside 
And laughing Pan forgets to pipe his tunes 
No mad-limbed dryads greet the rising moons, 
No wild Bacchantes on the wind s back ride. 

The nights are empty of soft murmurings 
Of tree nymphs and of silver naiads glee. 
Ah, Lalage, the dull mist seems to me 
Alive and sweet with loved, lost echoings. 

Where are the limbs that taught the snow its hue, 
Where are the eyes that dreamed the violet 
And, ah, the lips where earth and heaven met ! 
Lalage, Lalage, you have vanished, too ! 



A MEMORY. 

THE violets, fresh a week ago 
Are brown wisps now, the lilies row 
Droops languidly, as flower by flower 
They tempt the bee for his golden hour, 
Then, the coquettes, woo the season s flight 
And waste their beauty over night. 

Love had woven a garland, gay, 
But would not give the prize away. 
She tossed me one burning glowing rose 
Then vanished, whither no one knows 
But the crinkled petals *? I have those ! 



LOVES. 

MY first love was golden, 
A thing of sun-light made, 
With white gold in her laughter 
And red gold in her braid. 

My second love was silver, 

Wrought from a young moon s horn, 
With quiet silver glances 

And eyes like silver morn. 

My new love is a flame, 

Her voice a trumpet call. 
With flag and sword uplifted, 

I kiss her lips and fall ! 



33 



KISS. 

HER hair was as gold as the sun-spun foam, 
Her dress as green as the bud-new spring, 
And her eyes were full of the wonder-light 
Of youth s young worshipping. 

An angel passed in the mellow light, 

He breathed a kiss on her shimmering hair, 
Where it glowed like a gem in a golden snare, 
And shyly, it lingered there. 

A troubadour sang in the silvered night 
To the maiden s golden locks, adrift 
Where the moonlight laughed at her sly spendthrift, 
As she squandered the angel s gift. 



34 



III. MISCELLANEOUS 



ON A WINTER SUNDAY. 

"To the truths we keep coming back and back 

Robert Frost. 

THE slow white silence of the snow 
Has clothed the little village in a dream 
Of stillness, and the crazy, muffled bell 
Swings high and low, and high again to tell 
The hour as through the aged gate 
That creaks, and hangs a little bit awry 
Upon its rusty hinges, there pass by 
The older folk we used to know. They seem 
Saddened and quiet, different and shy ! 

The church door opens and the light 
Pours out upon them and envelopes all 
In its soft beam of ancient kindliness. 
The tiny organ seems, somehow, to bless 
The night to talk of God. 
And in the song are all the olden things 
We love the touch of silver angels wings, 
The sound of holy voices in the night. 

Oh, to go on and in with them, to feel 
Within, like burning wine, new faith, to kneel 
Before the altar of our memories ! 
But they have passed, and with a sigh, we see 
Like some huge loneliness, our mangled creed 
Looming above and what we loved before 
Fades dim before the things that we believe ! 
****** 

The sleet beats down, unmercifully cold, 

The path is dark see, they have closed the door. 



37 



TO CHARLES X JUST MARRIED. 

You, perhaps, recall those golden ways 
Filled with road-dust, bounteous light, and scent 
Of countless undreamed flowers, when we went 
With souls bared each to each and to the breeze ; 
Counting old cares, grown to glad memories ; 
Talking away the holidays. 

****** 
Last night when I had clasped your hands and seen 
Your happy faces in the candle light, 
I went to talk a little to the night 
Of comradeship that still was very close ; 
But as I said farewell, a mist arose, 
Like to her love, between. 



THE BEE. 

THAT clown of the daisy s ring, 
The bee with his yellow coat, 
Is humming a drowsy chanting, 
A honey-perfumed chanting 
Of the June-tide blossoming. 

The spokes of the whirling wheel, 

The belts in the dapple dusk, 

Through dizzy measures reel 

While white, strained fingers feel, 

Like animated steel. 

O child eyes, O child eyes, 

You do not know the hills 

Or the hope of sun-swept fields 

And the nodding daffodils 

Of morning in the skies. 

O tired eyes, O tired eyes, 

Your sad gaze dreams of nought ; 

You do not see how summer flies, 

Or care that daily dies 

The sun, that it may rise. 

That clown of the daisy s ring, 
The bee with his yellow coat, 
Is humming a drowsy chanting 
Mad shuttles drown his chanting ! 
Quick ! Time and Death are coming ! 



39 



THE PIPER OF WEINSBERG. 

(A ballad of the Peasants War.) 

COUNT Louis sat in his high-beamed hall, 
Dark were the shadows that streaked the wall 
And dark the thoughts that pelted down 
Like stinging drops of storm-blown rain 
To sere his heart with wrath and pain. 

"Melchior, Melchior, play !" he cried. 
The piper sprang to his master s side. 
"Play me a song of laughter. Play 
Till care and brooding anger fade." 
And Melchior, trembling with fear, obeyed. 

The notes laughed high, the notes laughed low, 
But the piper s eyes grew deep with woe, 
And the trembling depths of his own despair 
Rushed from the pipes in a strangled wail 
And the brooding count in the dusk, grew pale. 

"Hush!" and he struck the piper down. 
"Go play your tune to the rabble town, 
They ll add their whine as a gay refrain 
To your merry melody. Now go ! 
Go bark with the peasant whelps below !" 

Melchior crept to the great hall door, 
The torch-light danced on the wide-stretched floor 
And long through the quiet night, the count 
Fought with the fear of a phantom sound 
A wailing of pipes that hedged him round. 



Count Louis sat in his high-beamed hall, 
Bright were the torches that gleamed from the wall 
As a motley crowd of his merry men 
Sang, while they swung and tossed their ale ; 
When swift from the night shrilled the piper s wail. 

40 



Up from the valley, wild and clear, 
Trembling with passionate hate and fear 
It pierced like a dart. The singers hushed 
Their rollicking song they flocked to look; 
And the hands that flung the casement, shook ! 

Their drunken eyes peered forth, "To sword ! 
The serfs, the serfs !" below, the horde, 
Swinging their glittering torches, wound 
Like a scarlet snake up the narrow path, 
Led on by the piper s song of wrath. 

They tore the count from his men away, 
They snatched his coat and his doublet, gay, 
They stripped him clean and Melchior bowed, 
"Come, come, Sir Count ! Pray dance with me, 
I ll pipe for you now in a merry key !" 

Two lines of spears gleamed through the night 

A glittering hell in the scarlet light 

"Dance, dance !" And the pipe s mad laugh pursued 

The tortured soul of the count that fled 

As the red spears tossed him overhead ! 



4 1 



TO AN INTELLECTUALIST. 

HAVE you ever felt the touch 
Of soft wings in the night ? 
Or played at being river god 
In some red mountain brook*? 
Or walked with Christ across the dawn 
When no one else was near 
To say he was but myth? 

You have not? 

Then go back to your dull books, 

And tired, dusty thoughts, 

Until, perhaps, some day 

A sudden mist will dim your eyes 

And there, 

Between you and your intellect 

God! 



4 2 



YET MORE THAN THIS. 

HAVE you sought beauty where night mystifies 
The loves and laughter of the cool closed flowers 7 
Have you learned the exquisite passion of dear eyes 
Or followed the furious path of autumn showers? 

There are eyes of anguish in the thronging street, 

Made tender by a longing for the dawn. 
There are lives of irony ! . . . but these are sweet 

In dreams of secret gentleness, not gone, 

But hiding for a space ; and there are those 

Who sing the mountain heights of life along, 

Stilling the world to watch a budding rose *? 

And knowing these have you found nought but song? 



43 



IV. SONNETS 



THESE were the meadow lands of his delight, 
Far-stretching to the green hills and the sky, 
And here the brook he fished in, laughing by 
With benison of comfort. And the light, 
Sorrowing for him, veils with graying white 
The ripples and the sleepy herds that lie 
Dreaming. Far overhead his wild things cry, 
Swaying among the rushes after flight. 

I pick a bit of beauty for his room, 

A chastened branch of late October leaves 

And sigh to think that he has left the whole : 

The future quietness of snow, the bloom 

Of sudden April yet my heart believes 

That here, in deepening beauty, dwells his soul. 



47 



BEYOND a stretch of quiet loveliness 
As white as lyric joy, the new snows lie 
Soothing the silver brook s stilled witchery, 
Masking the dreaming, brooding wilderness. 
The wind has caught into its cool caress 
The outlines of the hills, and all the sky 
Swirls with a mingled veil of purity, 
As angeled, high white heaven stoops to bless. 

Glorious whiteness hides the crying pain 
Of new-made graves it stills new sorrowing. 
The valleys and the hills know solitude ; 
The river and the plain are one again ; 
For, like forgetfulness, the long drifts bring 
Silence and peace a white beatitude. 



I WATCHED you as you turned and waited there, 
Slim, in the darkened hall, and like a cloud 
Blown to the ruddy moon, your amber hair 
Clustered about your face. I cried aloud 
The thoughts that harried me ! Could you not love 
As I love ! Like a snow-stilled stretch of plain 
The silent house, with your dim face above, 
Gloriously holy with unspoken pain. 

There are sorrows that burn like bands of white-hot steel 

And pains that lower like an angry sky ! 

I knelt and in the darkness I could feel 

Your dear hand stretched to comfort me. Why, why, 

Did you not chide my petty love or flee ! 

Oh, how your tender pity tortured me. 



49 



YOUR voice has followed, like a temple bell 
Rung in some long-forgotten old world tower 
Far down the dusky years. I cannot tell 
In what lost world or when the golden hour 
That dreamed your love, this only know I : now 
In the uncertain labyrinth of ways 

I ve found you ! . . . Hear, the brook is laughing, low, 
And every blossom with the night wind sways. 

Low-stretching plains are harried by the wind, 
Seas, stars and worlds move endlessly and far ; 
But may death, swift across the ages, find 
Our souls in silent peace, as now they are ; 
And, like a dusky curtain falling, be 
Sleep without dreaming . . . love s finality. 



You love me as in some remembered dream, 
Filled with the scent of falling flowers and rain. 
Like a wet rose-bud in the dawn, you seem 
Asleep, unmindful of the boundless pain 
And crying joy that is my love for you. 
Awake ! the noon heat quivers in the sky ; 
Love me like light, swift-piercing through the blue 
Of cloud-tossed skies ; like wild, clear melody. 

Awake ! and like a fleeing nun, unveil 

The passionate sweetness of your fearless eyes. 

Open the petals of that dawn rose, pale 

Before the flaming love that glorifies 

Your dreaming soul. Awake ! sweep dreams away 

Before the burning glory of the day. 



You were the temple of my soul s desire, 
Far distant from the town and market-place. 
Night after night, I d watch the sky to trace 
The slender outline of your top-most spire 
Now dark and cold now suddenly a-nre 
As angels hovered, hallowing the place 
With holy song. All beauty, hope and grace 
Clad you with distant power to inspire. 

But once I crossed the plain that lay between, 
To cast my sorrows at your inner shrine 
And found a brooding portal veiled with gloom. 
No longer could the tapering spire be seen, 
And you, that were afar, this faith of mine, 
Proved, as I passed within, an empty tomb. 



I HAVE watched too long for You to come to me, 
Like a sudden dawn across some purple hill. 
I have waited, longed, and waited on, until 
The dim months fade and life has grown to be 
A tasteless drug, easing me on to see 
The ultimate hope that dreams and death fulfill. 
Yes, I have struggled, but You ve torn my will 
Ruthless, apart, as lightning shreds a tree. 

I watched for You in beauty and in joy, 
Faces of friends, old songs and open fires ; 
Sought life and thought to live it boldly through 
With all the madness of a wayward boy ; 
But through this mesh of furies and desires, 
Since You come not, I can but come to You ! 



53 



THE cool dawn wind has hurried far away 
The mounded mist, and all the world lies, young 
Upon the trembling bosom of the day, 
Rippling with strange new anthems, yet unsung. 
Ah, you have led me to this crest of light 
Adown the waving valleys of the spring 
Into the hush of thrilled, sweet vision, white 
With angels wings and peace of worshipping. 

But, oh, the old roads, matted with wind and tears 
And bordered with long rushes, speaking low 
The little evils of the day, the fears 
That grave the binding wrinkles on my brow ! 
Lord, take them where the old, dull pains have gone, 
Until, alone, my soul beholds the dawn. 



54 



SOMETIMES I see Him in the morning dew, 
When every blossom quivers in the breeze, 
Or when deep night steals down across the blue 
And purple shadows draw the angry seas 
Unto the stars ! And then my spirit flees 

Up with the spray, where, like a bird, suspended, 
I hear the sound of mortal melodies 
With cloud and wind-song gloriously blended. 
There, in the golden path of star-filled cloud, 
Clean-spirited and like a god I lie, 
Lifted and carried by a winged crowd, 
Higher and higher, through the mystery 
Of space, where with the cherubim is heard 
The tenderness and wonder of God s Word. 



55 



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