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Poems of nature and love / by Madison Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-184-30604786 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Poems of nature and love / by Madison Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. G.P. Putnam, New York : 1893. viii, 211 p. ; 17 cm. Coleman Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04378.03 KUK) Printing Master B92-184. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. BOOKS BY MADISON CAWEIN Moods and Memories . 2 00 Red Leaves and Roses . 1 25 Days and Dreams. I 25 Poems of Nature and Love .I 50 G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS NEW YORK LONDON POEMS OF NATURE AND LOVE BY MADISON CAWEIN G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS NEW YORK LONDON 27 West Twenty-third St. 24 Bedford St., Strand he l-ictherbothrl 9Xc i 893 COPYRIGHT, 1893 BY MADISON CAWEIN Printed and Bound by Zbe lftnfcherbocher press, Rew pork G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS Under the present title are included selections from two former volumes, Accolon of Gaul, and Lyrics and Idyls. Such poems only as appeared to the author's judgment worthiest of retention have been retained. In the selection of these he has endeavored to exercise a critical discrimination aced, to the best of his ability, to correct or expunge the frequent obscurity, superfluity, and exaggerated expression of the earlier works. Many of the poems have been partially, several entirely, rewritten. 111 This page in the original text is blank. TO JOAQUIN MILLER How shall Igreet him-him who seems 7T me the worthiest of our singers As one who hears Sierra streams, A nd, gazinX under arching fingers, Feels all the eagle feels that screams, The savage dreams, what time he lingers Son of the West, out of the West We heard thee sing,-who still allurest, A land where God sits manifest, A land where man stands freest, surest; A land, the noblest and the best, The loveliest and purest. Wild hast thou sung, as somie strangre bird On golden cliffs, and winds that glistened, And seas and staws and vmen have heard- And one, whose soul cried out and listened, He sends his young-, uuzworthy word 70 e/ze the AMaster's word hath christened. CONTENTS. P AG E Revery I Summer 3 Gargaphie 5 Beneath the Beeches 8 The Brush-Sparrow 10 The Old Farm I3 The Bridle-path 17 A Gray Day 2 I The Mood o' the Earth 24 Among the Acres of the Wood 27 Nooning 29 The Log-Bridge 3I Anmong the Knobs 33 Late October 36 Fall .38 The Forest Pool 40 Haunted 42 Ghostly Weather 47 Apocalypse 48 Uncertainty 49 Overseas 5I Act II.. 53 Lost Love 55 On a Portrait 57 After the Tournament 58 Oriental Romance 6o Porphyrogenita 62 The Castle of Love 64 vii viii CoNTE1 N S. FAGE Consecration 67 Romantic Love 69 Pastoral Love 7I Andalia 72 NoUra 75 Phyllis 78 Carmen 80 Sefiorita 83 As It Is 85 Thoughts 86 Chords . .. Impressions 92 Fragments 99 Ideal Divination IOI The Beautiful 104 Sleep io6 Disenchantment of Death. IOS The Three Urgandas III The Legacy of Death . .5 The Caverns of Kaf I21 The Spirit of the Van .27 The Spirit of the Star '.33 Lyanna 138 Masks '44 The Succuba 147 Blodetuwedd 151 Accolon of Gaul 156 Epilogue 210 REVERY. J F/-at oive i-, te s fro goIt/ of Ophir wzroutaght, [V/mat waols of mardctwte, than a irose, JIV/at towvers Of clystal, fotr tie eves of thouglht, Hiast buildled onl fa- IsZandis of Rep:ose! WH ERE castled peaks and templed cliffs and vales Cloud - like convulsive sunsets-shores that dream, MNyvrrh-fragrant, over siren seas whose sails Gleam white as lilies on a lilied stream, I oiig have I dreamed ! In gardens towards the sea, Down arcades of some sea-sad colonnade Of wreathen sculpture, long have walked with thought, To Tend, in shadowy attitude, the knee Before the shrine of lBeautv that must fade And leave no memory of the mind that wvrougrht. Wilo hath beheld thy caverns where, in heaps, The wines of Lethe and Love's-xvitchery, In sealed amphorx a Sibyl keeps, \Vorld-old, forever guarded secretly !- REVER F. No wine of Xeres or of Syracuse ! No fine Fa]ernian and no vile Sabine !- The stolen fire of a demigod, Whose bubbled purple goddess feet did bruise From crusted vats of vintage, where the green Flames with wild poppies, on the Samian sod. Oh, for the deep enchantment of one draught! The reckless ecstasy of classic earth With godlike eyes to laugh as gods have laughed In eyes of mortal brown, a breezy mirth Of deity delirious with desire I To breathe the dropping roses of the shrines, The splashing wine-libation and the blood, And all the young priest's dreaming ! To inspire My eager soul with beauty, till it shines An utterance of life's loftier brotherhood So would I slumber in the old-world shades, And Poesy should touch me, as the bold Wild-bees the virgin lilies of the glades, Barbaric with the pulpy-kerneled gold: And feel the glory of the golden-age Less godly than my purpose, strong to( dare Death with the pure, immortal lips of love Less lovely than my soul's ideal rage To mate itself with Music, and declare Itself part-meaning of the stars above. 2 POEMS OF iVA T7 URE A ND L 0 VE. SU AII ER. I. THOU sit'st among the sunny silences Of passive hills and woodland majesties, Thou utterance of all calin melodies, Thou lutanist of Earth's most fecund lute,- Where no false note intrudes To mar the silent music,-foot by foot Playing broad fields ripe, orchards and deep Woods, In sonig similitudes Of flower and seed and fruit. IIL So have I heard thee in some sensuous air Bewvitch the wide wheat-acres everywhere To imitated gold of thy rich hair: The peach, by thy red lips' delicious trouble, Blown into gradual dyes Of crimson; with glad interludes to double- Dark-blue with fervid influence of thine eyes- The grapes' rotundities Bubble by purple bubble. TII . TDelilberate uttered into life intense, Out of thy mouth's melodious eloquence SSMEMER. Beauty evolves its just pre-eminence: The lily, from some pensive-smitten chord Drawing significance Of purity, a visible hush stands ; starred With splendor, from thy passionate utterance, The rose writes its romance In blushing word on word. I V. As star by star day harps in evening, The inspiration of all things that sing Is in thy hands and from their touch taKes wring All brooks, all birds,-no similar songs can sate,- All wings, the wvind and rain, Hoarse frogs and insects, singing rathe and late, Thy sympathies inspire, and vet remain Patient to invigorate With rest life's toiling brain. V. And as the night, like some mysterious rune, Its beauty makes emphatic with the moon, Thou lutest us no immaterial tune But where hushed music haunts the cane and corn, And where the thick leaves throng, Earth's awful avatar,-in whom is born Thy ow-n vast spirit,-labors all niglht long WVith growth, assuring morn Assumes like onward song. 4 POEM11S OF NAA TUR E ANED LOVE. 5 GARGAPHIE. "SutcCinze Sac;-a .Diand . "-OVID. I. THERE the ragged sunlight lay Tawny on thick ferns and gray On dark waters: dimmer, Lone and deep, the cypress grove Shadowed whisperings and wove Braided lights, like those that love On the pearl plumes of a dove Pale to gleam and glimmer. II. There centennial pine and oak Into stormy utterance broke: Hollow rocks gloomed, slanting, Echoing in dim arcade, Looming with loose moss, that made Sunshine streaks in tatters laid Oft a wild hart, hunt-afrayed, Plunged the water, panting. GA RGA PLIE. III. Poppies of a sleepy gold Mooned the gold-green twilights rolled Down its vistas, making Fuzzy puffs of flame. And pale Stole the dim deer dow.vn the vale. And the haunting nightingale Throbbed not near-the olden tale All its hurt heart breaking. IV. There the hazy serpolet, Dewy cistus, blooming wet, Blushed on bank and boulder There the cyclamen, as wan As faint footprints of the Dawn, Carpeted the spotted lawn : There the nude nymn)h, diripping drawn, Basked a peachy shoulder. V. In the citrine shadows there XWhat tall presences and fair, White and godly gracious,- Hidden where the rock-rose grew,- Watched through eyeballs of the dew, Or from sounding oaks I and knew All the mystery of blue Heaven, vaulted spacious 6 GA R GA PHIE. V 1. Guarded that Bceotian Valley so no foot of man Soiled its silence holy Wdith profaning tread-save one, The Hyantian Actmon, He beheld . . . What god might shun Fate, Diana's wrath called down, With what magic moly !- N'II. Lost it lies ; like one who sleeps In serene enchantment ; keeps Beautiful in beamv Beauty of the flowers that be Wisdoi's ; hope, its high stars see, Near in fountains ; deity, In wise wind-words of each tree- Gargaphie the dreamy. 7 POEMS OF WA TURE A ND LO VE. BENEATH THE BEECHES. I. I LONG, oh long to lie 'Neath beechen branches, twisted Green 'twixt the summer sky; The woodland shadows nigh- Brown dryads sunbeam-wristed The live-long day to dream Beside a wildwood stream. II. I long, oh long to hear The claustral forest's breathings, Sounds soothing to the ear; The yellow-hammer near, Beam-bright, thrid wild-vine wreathings: The live-long day to cross Slow o'er the nut-strewn moss. III. I long, oh long to see The nesting red-bird singing 8 BENEA TH THE BEECHES. Glad on the wood-rose tree; To watch the breezy bee, Half in the wildflower, swinging God's live-long day to pass Deep in cool forest grass. IV. Oh you, so builded in With mart and booth and steeple, Brick alley-ways of Sin, What hope for you to win Ways free of pelf and people Ways of the leaf and root And soft Mygdonian flute! 9 I o POEMS OF NA TURE A AND LO E. THE BRUSH-SPARROW. I. E RE wild-haws, looming in the glooms, Build bolted drifts of breezy blooms; And in the whistling hollow there The red-bud bends as brown and bare As buxom Roxy's up-stripped arm From some gray hickory or larch, Sighed o'er the sodden meads of March, The sad heart thrills and reddens warm To hear you braving the rough storm, Frail courier of green-gathering powers Rebelling sap in trees and flowers Love's minister come heralding- O sweet saint-voice among bleak bowers O brown-red pursuivant of Spring! II. ' Mloan" sob the woodland cascades still Down bloomless ledges of the hill And gray, gaunt clouds like harpies hang In harpy heavens, and swooo) and clang THE BR USH-SPA RRW. W. Sharp beaks and talons of the wind Black scowl the forests, and unkind The far fields as the near: while song Seems murdered and all beauty, wrong. One weak frog only in the thaw Of spawny pools wakes cold and raw, Expires a melancholy bass And stops as if bewildered: then Along the frowning wood again, Flung in the thin wind's vulture face, From woolly tassels of the proud Red-bannered maples, long and loud, H' t' Gr-ace ! hero Grace! h /er Grace ! IIH. Her Grace ! her Grace ! her Grace !- Climbs beautiful and sunny-browved Up, up the kindling hills and wakes Blue berries in the berry brakes: With fragrant flakes, that blow and bleach, Deep-powders smothered quince and peach Eyes dogwoods with a thousand eyes: Teaches each sod how to be wxise With twenty wvildflowers to one weed And kisses germs that they may seed. In purest purple and sweet white Treads up the happier hills of light, Bloom, cloudy-borne, song in her hair And balm and beam of odorous air I I 12 THE BRUSH-SPARROTT. Winds, her retainers ; and the rains Her yeomen strong that sweep the plains: Her scarlet knights of dawn, and'gold Of eve, her panoply unfold: Her herald tabarded behold ! Awake to greet ! prepare to sing ' She comes, the darling Duchess, Spring ! POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. THE OLD FARM. D OR'MERED and verandahed, cool, Locust-girdled on the hill, Stained with w eather-wear and full Of weird whispers, at the will Of the sad wind's rise or lull I remember, it stood there Brown above the woodland; deep In a scent of lavender, \Vith slow shadows locked in sleep And the wfarm light everywhere. I remember how the spring, Liberal-lapped, bewildered its Squares of orchard, murmuring Kissed with budded puffs and bits, Where the wood-thrush came to sing. Barefoot so at first she trodl, A pale beggar-maid, adown The quaint quiet, till the god A'With the seen sun for a crown And the firmament for rod, 13 THE OLD FARM. Graced her nobly, wedding her- Her Cophetua. And so All the hill, one breathing blur, Burst in blossom, where the glow And the peach-sweet fragrance were. Seckel, blackheart palpitant Rained their bleaching strays; and white Bulged the damson bent a-slant Russet-tree and romanite Seemed beneath deep drifts to pant. And it stood there, brown and gray, In the bee-boom and the bloom, In the murmur and the day, In the passion and perfume, Grave as age among the gay. Good as laughter romped the clear, Boyish voices round its walls Rare wild-roses were the dear Girlish faces in its halls, Music-haunted all the year. Far before it meadows full Of green pennyroyal sank Clover dots, like bits of wool Pinched from lambs; and now a bank Of wild color ; and the cool 14 THE OLD FARM. '. Brown-blue shadows undefined Of the clouds rolled overhead- Curdled mists that kept the wind Fresh with rain and comforted With soft songs forever kind. Where in mint and gypsy-lily Ran the rocky brook away, Musical among the hilly Solitudes,-its flashing spray Sunlight-soft or forest-stilly;- Buried in thick sassafras, Half-way up the wooded hill, Moved some cowbell's muffled brass; And the ruined water-mill Loomed half-hid in cane and grass. I remember-stands it yet On the hilltop, in the musk Of damp meads, while violet Deepens all the dreaming dusk, And the locust-trees hang wet With the dew while, far and low, One long tear of scarlet gashes, Tattered, the broad primrose glow Westward, and in weakest splashes Lilac stars the heavens sow 1 5 ii6 THE OLD FA RM. Sleeps it still among its roses, Red and yellow, while the choir Of the lonesome insects dozes And the white moon, drifting higher, Brightens and the darkness closes- Sleeps it still among its roses POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. THE BRIDLE-PATH. I. THROUGH meadows of the iron-weeds, Whose purple blooms flash, slipping Twice-twinkling drops of dewy beads, The thin path twists and winding leads Through woodland hollows dripping; Down to a creek with bedded reeds; On to the lilied dam that feeds The mill, whose wheel through willow-bredes Winks, the white water whipping. II. It wends through meads of mint and brush Where silvery seeds sink drowsy, Or sail along the heatful hush; Past where the bobwhite in the bush Has built a nest, and frowsy Hides calling clear. A split through crush Of crowded saplings, low and lush A seam by pools of flag and rush Where blows the brier-rose blowsy. 2 17 THE BRIDLE-PA TE. III. Across the ragweed fallow-lot, Whose low-rail fence encumbers The dense-packed berries ripening hot; Where on the summer, one far spot Of gray, the gray hawk slumbers. Then in the greenwood where the rot Of leaves and loam smells cool ; and shot With dotting dark the touch-me-not Swings curling horns in numbers. IV. Around brown rocks that bulge and lie Deep in damp ferns and mosses,- Like giants, each lounged on his thigh To watch some forest quarry die,- The path toils steep ; then crosses A bramble-bridge; up-whirring nigh A wood-dove startles, 'thwart the sky A jarring light: and babbling by The brook its diamonds tosses. Ho! through the wildwood then we go In pulse of shade and singing; Where pale-pink sorrel-grasses grow The vari-colored toadstools sow x8 THE BRIDLE-PA TH. And swell the soil, bestringing The red-oak's roots. Where, swinging low Their green burs, limbs rub when each slow, Faint forest wind sounds. Fresh the flow Of hidden waters ringing. VI. While far away among the cane, Or spice-bush belts, the tinkle Of one stray bell drifts yet again, Lost near some lone and leafy lane Where smooth the red ruts wrinkle . Now up the sky a grayish stain Spreads smoky blue. A hint of rain. The sun is hid. Hard down the grain A gust dents; and a sprinkle VII. Has drilled the dimpled dust. Hark !-one Big mouthful of the thunder- And, scurrying with the dust, we run Into a whiff of hay and sun, Of cribs and barns ; and under The martin-builded eaves, -where dun The sparrows house with fuss and fun,- " W"ill it be done soon as begun" We wonder and we wonder. 9g THE BRIDLE-PA TH. VIII. A crashing wedge of stormy light Vibrating blinds, and dashes A monster elm to splinters quite A hush, then rushing rain that white The tumbled straw-stack lashes. . The rain is over. Left and right Foregathering gales of green delight, Fresh rain scents of each wood and height Where each blade drips and flashes. IX. A ghostly gold burns slowly through The crumbled clouds; and woven From rainy rose to rainy blue A dim pearl-dotting as of dew Dies into trembling doven. High-buoyed in rack now one or two Slight stars shine white-the pirate clew To night's rich hoard.-The west 's a hue Of bruised pomegranate cloven. 20 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. A GRAY DAY. I. LONG volleys of wind and of rain, And the rain on the drizzled pane, And the dusk comes chill and murk; But on yesterday's eve I know How a new moon's thorn-like bow Stabbed rosy through gold and through glow, Like a rich, barbaric dirk. II. The throats of the snapdragons, Cool-colored like dewiest dawns That a healthy yellow paints, Are filled with a sweet rain fine Of a jaunty, jubilant shine, A faery vat of rare wine, That the honey thinly taints. III. Dabbled the poppies shrink, And the coxcomb and the pink; And the candytuft's damp crown Droops dribbled, low bowed i' the wet; 21 A GRAY DAY. Long counters of mignonette Little musk-sacks open let, From the shelves o' the dew dragged down. IV. Stretched taunt on the blades of grass, A gossamer-fibered glass, That the garden-spider spun, The web, where the round rain clings In its middle sagging, swings- A hammock for elfin things When the stars succeed the sun. V. And, mark, where the pale gourd grows As high as the climbing rose, How the tiger-moth is pressed To the wide leaf's under side.- And I know where the red wasps hide, And the brown bees,-that defied The first strong gusts,-distressed. VI. Yet I feel that the gray will blow Aside for an afterglow; And the wind, on a sudden, toss Drenched boughs to a pattering show'r Athwart the red dusk in a glow'r, Big drops heard hard on each flow'r, On the grass and the flowering moss. 22 A GRA Y DA Y. 23 VII. And then for a minute, may be,- A pearl-hollow-worn-of the sea,- A glimmer of moon will smile; Cool stars rinsed clean o' the dusk A freshness of gathering musk O'er the showery lawns, as brusque As spice from an Indian Isle. 24 POEMS OF NA TURE A AND L OV E. THE MOOD O' THE EARTH. M Y heart is high, is high, my dear, As the wind in the wood that blows My heart is high with a mood that 's cheer, And burns like a sun-blown rose. My heart is high, my dear, my dear, And the heaven's deep skies are blue My heart goes out to the passionate year, As glad as a cloud with dew. My heart, my heart is high, my sweet, And wild as the smell o' the wood, That gusts -' the breeze with a pulse of heat, Mad heat that beats like a blood. My heart is high; and it guides my feet 'Where the sense of summer is full; A sense of summer-full fields of wheat, Full forests the swift creeks cool. My heart is one, is one, my heart, With the brown bee's heart that sinks And sounds i' the flowers that dip and part To his dusty body that drinks. THE MOOD O' THE EARTH. My heart is high, my heart, my heart! Sing! sing again, 0 good, gray bird That I may get that lilt by heart, And fit each note with a word. God's saints ! I tread the air, my dear Am one with the hoiden wind; And the stars that stare I swear, my dear, Right soon in my hair I '11 find.- To live high up a life of mist, With the white things in white skies,- With their limbs of pearl and of amethyst,- Who laugh blue, humorous eyes ! To creep and to suck, like an elfin thing, In the aching heart of a rose; In the bluebell's ear to cling and swing And whisper what no one knows ! To live on wild honey as fresh as thin As the rain that 's left in a flower ! And roll out golden from toe to chin In the god-flower's Danae shower! Or free, full-throated, bend back the throat, With a vigorous look at the blue, And sing, and sing with a staunch wild note, Like the thrush there ere it flew. 25 26 THE MOOD O' THE EARTH1. God's life ! the blood o' the Earth is mine ! And the mood o' the Earth I 'l take, And brim my soul with her wonderful wine And sing till my heart doth break ! POEMS OF NA TURE AND LO VE. AMONG THE ACRES OF THE WOOD. I. I KNOW, I know, The way doth go Athwart a greenwood glade, oh! White bloom the wild-plums in that glade, White as the bosom of the maid, Who, stooping, sits, and milks and sings Among the dew-dashed clover-rings, When fades the flush, the henna blush, Of evening's glow, an orange low, And all the winds are laid, oh II. I wot, I wot: And is it not Right o'er the viney hill Say ! where the wild-grapes mat and make Penthouses to each bramble-brake, And dangle plumes of fragrant blooms Wphere leaking sunbeams string the glooms With beryl beads where sprinkled weeds Blue blossoms fill and shrill, oh, shrill, Sings all night long one whippoorwill 27 28 AMONG THE ACRES OF THE WOOD. Ill. I ween, I ween The path is green 'Neath beechen boughs that let Sly glances of the bashful sky Gleam usward like a girlish eye At night one far and lambent star Shines limpid, like a watching Lar, 'Mlid branching buds a tangled bud Where in the acres of the wood Blow strips of wet, wild violet, And only we have trysting met. POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. NOONING. I. W EAK winds that make the water wink; White clouds that sail from lands of Fable, To white Utopias of vague brink, Down gulfs of blue unfathomable: Their rolling shadows drifting O'er fields of forest, lifting Wild peaks of purple range that loom and sink. II. Warm knolls whereon the Nooning dreams; In droning dells that bask in brightness, Low-lulled with hymns of mountain-streams, Far-foaming falls of windy whiteness; Where, from the glooming hollow With cawing crows that follow, The hunted hawk wings wearily and screams. III. Dry-buzzing heat and drought that thrills With one harsh locust's lonesome whirring; 29 N OONING. No answering voice shouts on the hills, Receding echoes far-recurring- As when the Dawning dimpled, With hazel twilight wimpled, From dewy tops called o'er responding rills. IV. Wan with sweet summer hangs the deep, Hot heaven with the high sun hearted- A wide May-apple bloom asleep With golden-pistled petals parted.- Now-could befall,-her pouting Cheeks anger-red,-from sprouting Rock-mosses some white wildwood Dream might leap. 30 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LO VE. THE LOG-BRIDGE. I. LAST month, where the old log-bridge is laid O'er the woodland brook, in the belts o' the shade, To the right, to the left, pink-packed was made A gloaming glory of scented tangle By the bramble roses there-that wade High-heaped on the sides-when they bloomed to fade, And, wilting, powdered the ruts, and swayed To the waters beneath loose loops of spangle Ihen the breeze that blew and the beam that rayed Were murmurous-soft with the bees a--wrangle. II. This month-'t is August-the lane that leads To the bramble-bridge runs waste with weeds, That bloom bright saffron, or satin seeds Of thistle-fleece blow at you. Hazy And starry the lane with the thousand bredes Of the yellow daisy-like sweet-eyed creeds Peacefully praying.-Now by you speeds A butterfly sumptuous with mottle and lazy. A yellowish-red, where the blue-bird pleads, The sumach's tassel dips down to the daisy. 31 THE L OG-BRIDGE. III. All golden the spot in the noon's gold shine, Where the yellow-bird sits with eyes of wine And swings and whistles; where, line on line, In coils of warmth the sunbeams nestle; Where cool by the pool (where the crawfish, fine As a shadow's shadow, darts dim) to mine The wet creek-clay with their peevish whine, Come mason-hornets ; and roll and wrestle With balls of clay they carry and twine In hollow nests on the joists o' the trestle. IV. Where the horsemint shoots through the grasses,- high On the root-thick rivage that roofs,-a dry, Gray knob that bristles with pink, the sigh Of crickets is sharp 'neath the dead leaves' bosoms: When the woods grow dusk you will hear the cry Of a passing bird flit twittering by; And the frogs' grave antiphons rise and die: And here to drink steal the wild opossums, While lithe on those roots two lizards lie, Brown-backed like the bark, or stir the blossoms, 32 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LO VE. AMONG THE KNOBS. T HERE is a place embanked with brush Three wooded knobs beyond, Lost in a valley where the lush Wild eglantine blows blonde. Where light the dogwoods earliest Their torches of white fires, And, bee-bewildered, east and west The red haws build white spires. The wan wild apples' flowery sprays Blur through the misty gloom A pensive pink; and by lone ways The close blackberries bloom. I love the spot: a shallow brook Slips from the forest, near The cane-brake and the violet nook, Its rustling depths so clear. The minnows glimmer where they glide Above its rocky bed- A long, dear, boyhood's brook, not wide, Which has its sparkling head 3 33 A4IAONG THE KNOBS. Among the rainy hills ; and drops By four low waterfalls- Wild music of an hundred stops- Between the leafy walls, Against the water-gate, that hangs A rude portcullis,-dull With lichened moss,-whose clumsy fangs The cress makes beautiful. The glass-green dragon-flies about The seeding grasses swim; The streaked wasps, worrying in and out, Dart fretfully and slim. Here in the moon-gold moss, that glows Like jets of moonlight, dies The weak anemone; and blows A flower less blue than skies. And, where in April tenderly The dewy primrose made A thin, peculiar fragrance, we, In the pellucid shade, Found wild-strawberries half-abud, In May long berries,-fresh, And pallid pink as wood-bird blood,- Stained many a trailing mesh. 34 A MONG THE KNOBS. Once from that hill a farmhouse 'mid Deep orchards-cozy brown In lilacs and old roses hid- With picket-fence looked down. O'er ruins now the roses guard; The plum and seckel-pear And the apricot rot on the sward Their wasted ripeness there. But when the huckleberries blow Their waxen bells I '11 tread Those dear accustomed ways, that go Adown the orchard, led To that avoided spot, which seems The haunt of vanished springs; Lost as the hills in drowsy dreams Of visionary things. 35 36 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. LATE OCTOBER. B ULGED from its cup the dark brown acorn falls, And by its gnarly saucer, in the stream's Clear puddles, swells; the spiky spruce-gum balls Rust maces of an ouphen host that dreams; Beneath the chestnut-tree the burry hulls Split, and pour purses from their pockets' seams. Burst silver white, nods,-an exploded husk Of snowy, woolly smoke,-the milk-weed's puff Along the orchard's fence; where in the dusk And ashen weeds,-as some grim Satyr's rough Red, breezy cheeks burn through his beard,-the brusque Crab-apples laugh, wind-tumbled from above. And through the wasted leaves the crickets' clicks Run feeble as a sound of fairy cheers. One bird sits in the sumach, flits and picks Its sour seeds. Far in the woods one hears The drop of walnuts. Round the straw's tall ricks, With lifted horns, one sees the lowing steers. Some slim, bud-bound Leimoniad hath flocked The birds, to lead them where the Southern foams LA TE OCTOBER. 37 Sing of forgetfulness. Where once were rocked Unnumbered bees within unnumbered blooms, One languid bee crawls in one bloom and, locked Therein, dreams of the summer's oozing combs. Winds shake the maples, and all suddenly A storm of leafy stars and whispers leaks Down like a Dryad's coming. To her knee Wading, the Naiad haunts her brook that streaks Through golden waifs. Hark ! Pan for Helike Flutes in the forest, while he seeks and seeks. POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. FALL. F AR off a wind blew, and I heard Wide echoes of the woods reply- The herald of some royal word From bannered trumpet blown to die On hills that held the sky. The pomp of forests seemed to meet Bluff monarchs on a cloth of gold; WXhere berries of the bittersweet, That, splitting, show the coals they hold, Sowed garnets through the wold: Where, under tents of maples, bredes Of smooth carnelians, oval red, The spice-bush spangled: where, like beads, The dogwood's rounded rubies-fed With fire-blushed and bled. To meet my dream my soul went out, And marked, 'mid richness cavalier, A minne-singer-lips a-pout, A voice like music's-standing near, A rose stuck in his ear: 38 FALL. Eyes, dancing like old German wine, All mirth and moonlight ; naught to spare Of slender beard, that lends a line Unto his lip ; and, curling fair, A chestnut wealth of hair. His blue baretta's sweeping plume A beam of whiteness droops ; his hose, Puffed at the thighs, of purple loom; His tawny doublet, slashed with rose, A dangling dagger shows: A slim lute slants his breast. . . I hear The leaf-crisp coming of his foot- No wonder that the regnant Year Bends to his beauty, blushing mute, And sighs to be his lute. 39 40 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. THE FOREST POOL. O NE memory persuades me when Dusk's lonely star burns overhead, To take the gray path through the glen- That finds the forest pool, made red With sunset-and forget again, Forget that she is dead. Once more to look long in the spring, That on one rock a finger white Of foam that beckons still doth bring; Some moon-wan spirit of the night Who dwells among its murmuring, Her life the sad moonlight. To see the red dusk touch it here With fire like a blade of blood One star's reflection, white and clear As some wood-blossom's fallen bud; While all my grief stands very near, Pale in the solitude. And it shall be before the moon Hangs-silver as a twisted horn THE FOREST POOL. Blown out of elfland sweet with tune- White in white clusters of the thorn, That in the water, over soon, An image shall be born: That has her throat of frost ; her lips, Her lips where God's anointment lies Her eyes, wherefrom love's arrow-tips Break like the starlight of dark skies: Her hair, a hazel heap that slips; Her throat and hair and eyes. And I shall stoop ; the water kissed, The face fades from me into air Down in the wrinkled amethyst My own face sad as old despair Then-night and mist ; and in the mist One dead leaf fallen there. 41 42 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. HAUNTED. I. W ITHOUT a moon when night comes on There is a sighing in its trees As of sad lips that no one sees; And the far-dwindling forest, large Beyond fenced fields, seems shadowy drawn Into its shadows. Faint and wan, By the wistariaed portico Stealing, I go Through gardens where the weeds are rank Where, here and there, in patch and bank, Rise clumped the spiarees whose blooms Seem dots of starlight ; and the four Syringas sweet heap, powdered o'er, Thin flower-beakers of perfumes; And the dead flowering almond-tree Once maiden pink. Still bower on bower, The roses climb in blushing flower- And from the roses shall I see Her sad, sad eyes shine like the flowers, That nestle dew-drops hours on hours, Wistful, as if reproaching me hirA UN' TEED. II. When midnight comes it brings a moon A scent is strewn Of honey and wild-thorns broadcast Beneath the stars. 'When I have passed Under dark cedars, lonely pines, To dodder-drowned petunias, Corn-flower and pale columbine, And mauve azaleas choked with grass, 'White peonies like wisps of shine; Have passed by honey-suckle vines, Piled deep and trammelled with the gourd And morning-glory-one wild hoard Of rich aroma-and have heard The plaintive note of some lost bird Trickle through night,-awakened where, 'Neath its thick lair of twisted twigs, The jarring and incessant grigs Hum,-dream-drugged so, the haunted air Makes all my soul as heavy as Dew-poppied grass. III. Once when the moon rose flushed and full,- Like some sea-seen hesperian pool, A splash of gold through tangling trees,- There came slow sighings in the trees As of sad lips that no one sees. And when, all in a mystic space, 43 HA UN TED. Her orb swam amiable white, Right in yon shattered casement, by The broken porch the creepers lace, Made of a whisper and a sigh I thought her face Formed in a mist of tears ; so slight, So beautiful, its pensive grace Was like an olden melody. T V.T I know, long-angled on its floors, Where windows greet the anxious east, The moonshine pours White squares of glitter and, at least, Gives glimmer to its moaning halls Sleep-tapestried, dim corridors Wake whispers by its wasted walls Stand shadows and where streaked dusts lay Their undisturbed, deep gray, Walk vision-footed sighs. Below I hear a murmur come and go Through one great buckeye near her room.- Ah ! know I not how those broad flues Of her old home the winds make hoarse Sonorous throats that growl and boom With wafts that slink through avenues Of summer, singing in their course, Where blossoms drip, to swing them back 44 1A UN TED. Its echoes, and the stealthy crack Old, warping stairs give ; and the black That drapes each room the mind informs To fling from closets phantom arms V. I see her face beseeching pressed To the rugged, polished floor; distressed, Pinched in her blind and praying hands; So desolate with anguish, wrenched With all remorse mind understands: See him who stood and sneered and fled Still unrelenting. Then again Myself come stealing in fast-clenched In staring eyes all the hard pain Cramped to dilation, with a groan To find a huddled heap alone- Her white and dead. VT. Yes, there is moan Of lamentation and hushed screams In all its crannies and lean shades Make melancholy rooms where braids The lacy moonlight. Slow have flown The years ! the years ! and I have known An anguish and remorse far worse Than usual life's, and live, it seems, Because to live is but a curse. . . 45 46 HA UNTIED. VII. There lies the burying-place ; that ground Gated with rusty iron; stone Squares in a mossy spot of dreams Wild just the same; its roses waste Limp, placid petals; yonder some Lie loose like puffs of foam On bold, unhealthy weeds ; displaced, Strew wiltings here my feet around. Wild roses and wild thorns, where moan The sorrowing wood-doves and The sad days slumber bland, POEMIS OF NA TLURE AND LO VE. GHOSTLY WEATHER. W ILD gusts of drizzle hoot and hiss Through dodging lindens whistled through. The dead's own days be days like this- Yes, let me sit and be with you; Here in your willow chair whose seat Spreads scarlet plush. Hark ! how the gusts In sad seolian cracks repeat Mild moans !-They haunt your room, where dusts Make dim each ornament and chair; That locked-in memory where you died. Since angels stood there, saintly fear Guards each dark angle, mournful-eyed. Through this dim day stoop your dim face; Gray eyes, like rain-drops, dimly deep; A soft gray cloudiness of lace, Stand near me while I sleep, I sleep. 47 48 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. APOCALYPSE. B EFORE I found you I had found Of your true eyes the open book (Where re-created heaven wound Its wisdom with it) in the brook. Ah, when I found you, looking in Those Scriptures of your eyes, above All earth, o'ersoared earth's vulture, Sin, So apotheosized to love. And, searching yet beneath it, saw The soul impatient of the sod- What wonder then your love should draw Me to the nearer love of God. POEMJIS OF NA TURE AND LOVE, UNCERTAINTY. H'e comet/i not,' s/he said. "-NIARIANA. I T will not be to-day and yet I think and dream it will; and let The slow uncertainty devise So many sweet excuses, met By many sad, confuting lies. The panes were sweated with the dawn; Yet through their dimness, shriveled drawn The aigret of one princess-feather, One monk's-hood tuft with oilets wan, I glimpsed, dead in the slaying weather. This morning when my window's chintz I drew, how gray the day was !-Since I saw him, yea, all days are gray !- I gazed out on my dripping quince, Defruited, gnarled, then turned away To weep, and did not weep; but felt A colder anguish than did melt About the tearful-visaged year: Then flung the lattice wide and smelt The autumn sorrow: Rotting near 4 49 U[CEE R TA INTY. The rain-soaked sunflowers, burnt and bleached, Up which the frost-nipped gourd-vines reached, Or morning-glories, seeded o'er With ashen aiglets, whence beseeched One blue bloom's brilliant palampore. The podded hollyhocks-vague, tall, Wind-battered sentries-by the wall Rustled their tatters ; dripped and dripped The fog thick on them. Dying, all The tarnished, hag-like zinnias tipped. I felt the death and loved it: yea, To have it nearer, sought the gray, Chill, fading garth. Yet could not weep; But only sigh some '' well-a-way " And yearn with weariness to sleep. Mine were the fog, the frosty stalks, The weak lights on the leafy walks, The shadows shivering with the cold; The torpid cricket's dreary talks, The last, dim, ruined marigold. But when to-night the moon swings low- A great marsh-marigold of glow- And all my garden with the sea Moans, then through phantom mist, I know His shadow '11 come to comfort me. so POEMS OF NA TURE AN D LOVE. OVERSEAS. iron -iemero Ioras, nisi serenas. W iHEN fall fills morns with mist, it seems, In soul I am a part of it Lib'rating on the humid beams, A form of frost, I float and flit From dreams to dreams. An old cha'teau sleeps 'mid the hills Of France: an avenue of sorbs Conceals it: drifts of daffodils Bloom by a 'scutcheoned gate with barbs Like iron bills. I pass the gate unquestioned, yet I feel announced. Broad holm-oaks make Dark pools of restless violet. Between the bramble banks a lake- As in a net The tangled scales twist silver-shines. Gray, mossy turrets swell above The whispering leaves. Among the vines Rise ivied walls. A spot for love Beneath the pines. Its angular windows, dimly seen From distant lanes with hawthorn hedged, Beam broadly on the nectarine SI 5 0 VERSEA S. Espaliered, and the peach-tree, wedged 'Twixt climbing green. Cool-babbling a fountain falls From gryphons' mouths in porphyry; Its carp swim eddying; white balls Of lilies dip it when the bee Crawls in and drawls. And butterflies, each with a face Of Faery on its wings, recline- Beheaded pansies blown, that chase Each other-down the shade and shine Boughs interlace. And roses ! roses, soft as vair, 'Round sylvan statues and one old Stone dial-Pompadours that wear Their royalty of purple and gold With saucy air. Her scarf, her lute, whose ribbons breathe The perfume of her touch; her gloves, Modeling the daintiness they sheathe; Her fan, a WVatteau, gay with loves, Lie there beneath A bank of eglantines that heaps A rose-strewn shadow. Naive-eyed, With lips as suave as they, she sleeps The romance by her, open wide, O'er which she weeps. 52 POEMS OF NA TURE A ND LO VE. ACT III. U PLIFTED darkness and the owl-light breaks, Scuds the wild land, pursuing patch with patch, As when deep camomile a swift wind shakes. How clumsily I raised the crazy latch !. So.-When yon black bulk, light-absorbing, rakes Again the moon's bald disk- Out ! and the storm may snatch Again wet hair, pulled lank with wind and rain Two hours since.-There from the ragged plain A dark cloud-besom sweeps the beams again On! on! . . . What fear or risk . . . Close to the fellside hugs the bramble hollow Whining with wind, a pausing wind that grieves Through the one crippled ash, whose nervous leaves Worry and mutter, wooden as the lips Of dead men kissing. There a gnarled vine slips Up a humped, cloven rock, that seems to wallow A gorgon head of ugly writhings ; heaves When, heaped abruptly on it, flare! Burst rain and tempest-glare.- This passed, I follow 53 A thorny slip of path until I reach the storm-scarred hill. Shall I not then be breathless, sinking sense, For ghastlier yet to come --Some sterner strength Sustain my soul !-Beyond the hill the dense, Dead wood remains and then . that livid length Of mooning water, spectral and immense With sullen storm and night . . . There, if the ghoulish wind,- Which knows well as I know how I hav e sinned, -Will cease to curse me in its hag-like spite, Disturbed with horror only of my soul, I '11 see among cramped reeds, the storm has thinned, His wide, white eyes, metallic in the light Of the impassive moon ; in gusty roll Of washing ripples, webby, slippery locks Dabbling and dark. Or, wedged among fierce rocks, Wild-pinched and water-strangled white, His murdered face that mocks. A4 CT I1I. 54 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LO VE. LOST LOVE. I LOVED her madly. For-so wrought Young Love, divining Isles of Truth Large in the central Seas of Youth- "Love will be loved," I thought. Once when I brought a rare wild-pink To place among her plants, the wise, Still guerdon of her speaking eyes Said more than thanks, I think. She loved another. Ah ! too well I have the story in my soul !- A weary tale the weary whole Of how she loved and fell. I loved her so ! . . . Remembering of My mad grief then, I wonder why It is such griefs grow gray and die While lives still live and love Strange, is it not For grief was dear To me as she once. A regret It is now; just to make eyes wet And lift a big sob here. 5; 56 LOST LOVE. Yet, had she lived as dead in shame As now in death, Love would have used Pride's pitying pencil and abused The memory of her name. This makes me thank my God, who led IMy broken life in sunlight of This pure affection, that my love Lives by her being dead. POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. ON A PORTRAIT. I. A T seventeen she grew between His gaze and some old-world romance: A face,-seductive and serene As all that old romance may mean,- With dark eyes waking from a trance. At seventeen. II. At twenty-one no song might run More sweetly than his longing leapt To her,-whose loveliness begun For him all song beneath the sun,- With eyes of brown where laughter slept. At twenty-one. III. At thirty-two no dreams would do !- He loved this daughter of the South, Whose eyes of blue his fancy drew, What time the battle bugles blew To dash him on the cannon's mouth. At thirty-two. 57 58 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. AFTER THE TOURNIAMENT. 1. A ND shall it be, when white thorns flake With blossoms all the budding brake, The rustle of one lifting leaf Will whisper low And one be near thee as thy grief- And wilt thou know IIL Or shall it be, when blows and dies The forest columbine, two eyes Will bloom against thine faint as frost Thou, deep in dreams, Wilt hark what plaintive winds sigh, lost In life that seems. III. Or shall it be, where rocks slope, smooth With water-wear, where vague lights sooth, One in an old lute will beseech Thy listening ears With Provence melodies, that reach The soul like tears . . . A FTER THE TO URNA MENT. IT. Yes, this will be-Loop thy white arm Beneath my hair . . . so; let thy warm Blue eyes gaze in mine for a space, A little while; Love, it will rest me ; and thy face- Ah, let it smile. V. Now art thou thou. Yet-let thy hair, A golden fragrance, fall ; thy fair Full throat bend low; thy kiss be hot With joy, not dry With anguish.-Sweet my Evalott Now let me die. 59 6o POEMS OF NA TURE A ND LOVE. ORIENTAL ROMANCE. I. B EYOND lost seas of summer she Dwelt on an island of the sea, Last scion of that dynasty, Queen of a race forgotten long.- With lips of light and eyes of song, From seaward groves of blowing lemon, She called me in her native tongue, Low-leaned on some rich robe of Yemen. II. I was a king. Three moons we drove Across green gulfs, the crimson clove And cassia spiced, to claim her love. Stuffed was my barque with gems and gold; Strips of rare sandalwood, grown old With odor; and pink pearls of Oman, Than her chaste breasts less purely cold; And myrrh less fragrant than this woman. III. From Bassora I came. We saw Her condor castle on a claw ORIENTA L ROMZA NCE. Of savage precipice, o'erawe Besieging of the roaring spray Like some rough opal white it lay Above us, all its towers a-taper, Wherefrom, like an aroma, day Struck splintered lights of sapphirine vapor. I V. Lamenting caverns dark, that keep Sonorous echoes of the deep, Moaned demon-haunted 'neath the steep. - Fair as the moon whose light is shed In Ramadan, the queen, who led My love unto her island bowers, I found . . . yea, lying young and dead Among her maidens and her flowers. POEEMS OF NA TCURE A ND L O VE. PORPHYROGENITA. 1. Wv AS it when Kriemhild was queen That we rode by ways forgotten Through the Rhineland, all serene 'Neath a low moon white as cotton I, a knight or troubadour Thou, a princess though a poor Damsel of the Royal Closes - I have dreamed it somehow sure, Reading of Kriemnhilda's roses. Its Or in Venice by the sea What romance grew up between us Thou a doge's daughter-she Titian painted as a Venus I, a gondolier whose barque Glided past thy palace dark - Near Saint Mark's or Casa d'Oro - All thy casement sprang a-spark At my barcarolle's " Te oro." II,. Klaia, one of Egypt; yea, Languid as its sacred lily; 62 PORIPHYZZTROGENZTA. Didst with me a year and day Love upon the Isle of Philae I, a priest of Isis -Sweet, 'Neath the date-palms did we meet By a temple's pillared marble WChile from its star-still retreat Sank the nighti ngale's wild warble IV. Have I dreamed that, I a slave, From thy lattice, 0 sultana ! Veilless, thy white hand did wave Me a Persian rose, sweet manna Of thy lips' kiss in its heart That, through my Chaldoean art, With thy Khalif's bags of treasure, From Damascus we did start Westward to some land of pleasure V. Was it thou or, haply, thou - Thou or thou, thou wast so dearest That thy memory holds me now Like a passion; lying nearest To dead evolutions of Death to life and life to love: Truth invisible, but clearest To the soul that looks above. 63 64 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. THE CASTLE OF LOVE. He speaks. I. Y OU ask how I knew that I knew it- Like the king in the Asian tale, I wandered on deserts that panted With noon to a castle enchanted, That Afrits had built in a vale A vale where the sunlight lay pale As moonlight. And round it and through it I searched and I searched. Like the tale II, No eunuch black-browed as a Marid Prevented me. Silences seemed- Nude slaves with the kohl and the henne In eyes and on fingers-so many White whispers in dimness that dreamed Where censers of ambergris steamed And I came on a colonnade quarried From silvery marble, it seemed. T!7'/ CASTLE OF LO E.6E. III, And here a wide court rose estraded Rich tulips, like carbuncles, bloomed 'Mid. jonquil and jessamine glories; Strange birds, like the cockatoos, lories, Spread wings, like great blossoms, illumed, Or splashed in the fountain perfumed; Kept captive by network of braided, Spun gold where low galleries gloomed. IV. From nipples of five bending Peris Of gold that was auburn, in rays The odorous fountain sprang calling: I heard through the white water's falling,- More sweet than the laughter of sprays, Than songs of our happiest days,- A music sigh soft, as if fairies Touched wind-harps whose chords were of rays. V. I searched through long corridors paneled With sandal; whose doorways hung draped With stuffs of Chosroes, deep-garded With Indian gold: up the corded Stone stairway's bronze dragons that gaped Through moon-spangled hangings escaped- 5 65 66 TIE CASTLE OF LOVE. 'Twixt pillars of juniper channeled- To a room constellated and draped. vi. As in legends :-of visions a vassal, One hears, yet beholds naught, and hears A voice that encourages yearnings;- More subtle than aloes-wood burnings, The chamber sings, filled for the ears With melody; nothing appears.- My life found your soul such a castle, Your love is the music it hears. POEMS OF NA TURE AND LO [--E. CONSECRATION. Sie speaks. LAST night you told me, where we, parting, waited, Of love somehow I 'd known before you told- Long, long ago this love, perhaps, was fated, For why was it made suddenly so old "Dear things we have and in their own truth cherish, Born with us seem, and as ourselves shall last Part of our lives, we can not let them perish Out of our present's future or its past" Then is it strange, dazed by that wider wonder, I, walking in the wood the morrow's dawn, Should marvel not that, by my feet and under, The wildflowers now were purer than those gone The wood-birds' silver warble sunk completer The sun shone whiter, lordlier at noon And night, sweet God ! hung starrier, holier, sweeter, In Babylonian witchcraft of the moon . 67 68 CONSECRA TION. All love hath emanations: an ideal Beats, beats within all beauty. I was moved No more when, dreamed, my spiritual dream rose real, Than by what virtue, God divined, I loved. POA'E S OF NA TURE AND LOT7'E. ROMANTIC LOVE. I. I S it not sweet to know- The moon hath told me so- That in some lost romance, love, Long lost to us below, A knight with casque and lance, love, A thousand years ago, I kissed you from a trance, love,- The moon hath told me so. II. Or were it strange to wis - The stars have told me this- Once sang a nightingale, love, On some old isle of Greece A wizard loved its nail, love, That it might never cease, From the full notes a woman, More lovely than one human, Devised . . . so goes the tale, love,- The stars have told me this. 70RMAANTIC LOVE. III. Is it not quaint to tell - The flowers remember well- Was once a rose that blew, love, Pale in a haunted dell; And one, a Fairy true, love, By loving broke the spell; And, lo ! the rose was-you, love The flowers remember well. IV. To moon and flower and star We are not what we are: Sometimes, from o'er that sea, love, Whose scolloped sands are far,- From shores of Destiny, love,- The winds that wing and war, Will waft a thought that glistens To Memory who listens, Reminding thee and me, love, We are not what we are. 70 POEMAS OF NA TURE AND LO VE. PASTORAL LOVE. THE pied pinks tilt in the wind that worries- Oh, the wind and the tan o' her cheek ! And the close sun sleeps on the rye nor hurries- And what shall a lover speak The toad-flax flowers in flaxen hollows- Oh, the bloom and her yellow hair ! And the greenwood brook a wood-way follows- And what will his heart declare The gray trees stoop where the daylight sprinkles- Hey, the day and the light o' her eye ! And a gray bird pipes and a wild fall tinkles- And what may a maid reply Hey, the hills when the evening settles! Oh, the Edens within her eyes ! Say, the tryst 'mid the dropping petals! Lo, the low replies ! . . . " Yes, when the west is a blur of roses - "But what o' the buds o' thy cheeks, my dear "- " Yes, when there 's rest and the twilight closess"- " And the star of love is near." 71 72 POEMVS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. AN DALIA. I. S ONG, that did waNken you, Song that had taken you, Has not forsaken you; Still with the spring My mad and merriest Part of the veriest Season and cheeriest You, who can bring Airs that the birds have taught you Grace that the winds have brought you Looks that the lilies laughed you; Thoughts that the high stars waft you- Are you a humani thing IT. Dreams-are you aught with them You, who are fraught with them; You, like their thought, with them Beautiful too. Life-you 're a gleam of it Love-you're a dream of it Hope-you 're a beam of it, A NDA L [A.. Bound in the blue Gray of big eyes that are often Laughter and languor; that soften Over me sweetly and slowly Out of your soul that is holy, And purer than dew. Ill. Face,-like the sweetest of Perfumes,-completest of Flowers God's fleetest of Months ever bear. Sleep, who walk crisper, sleep, Than the frost; lisper sleep, Haveyou a whisper, sleep, Soft as her hair Night and the stars did spin it Stars and the night are in it- Let but a ray of it bind me, And, should the blind fates blind me, Fair I should know her, fair. I V. Love-has it mated you One that awaited you, One that was fated you Here for a while - Song, can you sing in me 73 74 ANDA L IA. Sweeter, or bring in me Peace, that will cling in me So through all trial, Such as her smile like the morning's- Fashioning luminous warnings, Hints of a passion unspoken; Love, 't is your seal and its token - The light of her smile. POEMIS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. NOERA. N ORRA, when sad fall Has grayed the fallow Leaf-cramped the wood-brook's brawl In pool and shallow; When sober wood-walks all Strange shadows hallow Noera, when gray gold And golden gray The crackling hollows fold By every way, Thee shall these eyes behold, Dear bit of May When webs are cribs for dew, And gossamers, Long streaks of silver-blue When silence stirs One dead leaf's rusting hue Among the burs. Nol9ra, in the wood Or 'mid the grain, 75 J6O ERA . Thou, with the hoiden mood Of wind and rain Fresh in thy sunny blood, Sweetheart, again ! Noc'ra, when the corn Reaped on the fields The aster's stars adorn- Their purple shields Defying the forlorn Decay fall wields Noera, haply then, Thou being with me, Each ruined greenwood glen Will bud and be Spring's with the spring again, The spring in thee. Thou of the breezy tread, Feet of the breeze; Thou of the sunbeam head, Heart like a bee's; Face like a woodland-bred Anemone's. So to October's death An April part 76 NOERA"I. 77 Bring, while she taketh breath Against death's dart Noera-one who hath Made mine a heart. Come with our golden year, Come as its gold: With thy same laughing, clear, Loved voice of old: In thy cool hair one dear Wild marigold. 78 POE/I/S OF NA 7'(URE A YD LOVE. PHYLLIS. I. I F I were her lover I 'd wade through the clover Over five fields or more; Over the meadows To stand with the shadows, The shadows that circle her door. I 'd walk through the clover Close by her; And over and over I 'd sigh her, "Your eyes are as brown As a Night's looking down On waters that sleep With the moon in their deep If I were her lover to sigh her. II. If I were her lover I 'd wade through the clover Over five fields or more And deep in the thickets Or there by the pickets, PHYLLIS. White pickets that fence in her door, I 'd lean in the clover- The crisper For the dews that are over- An-d whisper, Your lips are as rare As the dewberries there, Half ripe and as red, On the honey-dew fed-" If I were her lover to whisper. IMI. If I were her lover I 'd wvade through the clover Over five fields or more And watch in the twinkle Of stars that sprinkle The paradise over her door. And there in the clover I 'd reach her: And over and over I 'd teach her, A love without sighs, Of laughterful eyes, That reckoned each second The pause of a kiss, A kiss and . . . that is If I were her lover to teach her. 79 8o POEMS OF NA 7TURE A ND L O VE. CARMEN. LA GITANILLA ! tall dragoons in Andalusian afternoons, With ogling eye and compliment Smiled on you, as along you went Some sleepy street of old Seville Twirled with a military skill Moustaches; buttoned uniforms Of Spanish yellow bowed your charms. Proud, wicked head and hair blue-black, Whence the mantilla, half thrown back, Discovered shoulders and bold breast Bohemian brown: and you were dressed- In some short skirt of gypsy red Of smuggled stuff: your stockings, dead White silk, were worn with many a hole, Through wlhich your roguish ankles stole Sly hints of plumpness: dainty toes In red-morocco shoes with bows Of scarlet ribbons. Flirtingly You walked by me, and I did see Your oblique eyes, your sensuous lip, That gnawed the rose, you once did flip CA RMEN. At bashful Jose's nose while loud The gaunt guards laughed among the crowd. And in your brazen chemise thrust, Heaved with the swelling of your bust, A bunch of white acacia blooms Whiffed past my nostrils hot perfumes. As in a cool ;nevcria I ate an ice with MWrimee, Dark Carmencita, you passed gay And holiday bedizened: A new mantilla on your head; A crimson dress bespangled fierce And crescent gold, hung in your ears, Shone wrought Morisco; and each shoe, Of Cordovan leather, spangled blue, Glanced merriment ; and from large armns To well-turned ankles all your charms Blew flutterings and glitterings Of satin bands and beaded strings Around each arm's tight thigh, one fold, And graceful wrists, a twisted gold Coiled serpents, jewelled in the head With rubies of convulsive red. In flowers and trimmings, to the jar Of mandolin and gay guitar, You, in the grated patio, Danced: the curled coxcombs' staring row 6 81 CA RAIEN. Gave pleased applause. I saw you dance, With wily motion and glad glance, Voluptuous, the wild roialis, Where every movement was a kiss Of gracefulness, abandoned, wound In your Basque tambourine's dull sound. Or, as the ebon castanets Clucked out dry time in unctuous jets, Saw angry Jose through the grate Glare on us a pale face of hate, When some indecent colonel there Presumed too lewdly for his ear. Some still night in Seville: the street, Candilejo: two shadows meet- Flash sabres ; crossed within the moon, Clash rapidly-a dead dragoon. S2 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LO VE. SENORITA. A N agate black, her roguish eyes Claim no proud lineage of the skies, No velvet blue; but of sweet earth The reckless witchery and mirth. Looped in her raven hair's repose, A hot aroma, one tame rose Dies ; envious of that beauty where- By being near which-it is fair. Two lyrics set to song, her ears Whose unpretentious charm endears The jewels whose harmonious fire Binds the attention these inspire. Two stars stop o'er her balcony, Two eyes in heaven's canopy; No moon flows up the satin night In pearl-pierced raiment spun of light. From orange-orchards, dark in dew, Vague, odorous lips the east-wind blew 83 84 SENORITA. Or she, a new Angelica From Ariosto, breathed Cathay. Oh, stoop to me ! and speaking reach My soul like song, that learned low speech From some sad instrument,-who knows - Or flow'r, a dulcimer or rose. POEL7J S OF NA TURE AND LOVE. AS IT IS. M AN'S are the learnings of his books- What is all knowledge that he knows Beside the wit of winding brooks, The wisdom of the summer rose How soil distils the scent in flowers Baffles his science: heaven-dyed, How, from the palette of His hours, God gives them colors, hath defied. What broad religion of the light, Ere stars in heaven beat burning tunes, Stains all the hollow edge of night With glory as of molten moons. Why sorrow is more strange than mirth, And death than birth ; and afterward, What sweetness in the bitter earth Makes life's mortality so hard. 85 86 POEMS 0F NA T UK E AN D L ( VF. THOUGHTS. I. H OW the May-apple or Silvery cyclamen- Star-perfect as a star- In woodland glade and glen Blossoms, when breezes woo With language of the dew, Up to the broken blue Of lonesome skies, do you Know or do I II. Can wild anemones Think -for they tremble so, Pale with the mysteries Of the wind's joy and woe When the soft sunlight links Crowns, where the dewdrop winks, On every rose that shrinks,- What its heart's aura thinks Know you or I THOUGHTS. 87 Ili. Once when the Springtide trod By in a blowing blush,- Wise as a gaze of God Holding all Heaven a-hush,- Love was her thought; and love Through the vast soul above Wrought so, these sprang thereof: Thought into thoughts, to prove Symbols of love. 88 POESE OF NA TURE AND LOVE. CHORDS. W HEN love delays, when love delays and joy Steals, a strange shadow, o'er the happy hills, And hope smiles from to-morrow, nor fulfils One promise of to-day, thy face would cloy My soul with loved despair By seeing thee so fair. When love delays, when love delays and song Aches at wild lips, regretful, as the sound Of a whole sea strives in the shell-mouth bound; Though hope smiles from to-morrow, all this wrong Would, at one little word, Leap forth for thee a sword. When love delays, when love delays and sleep Nests in dark eyeballs, like a song of home Heard 'mid familiar flowers o'er the foam, While hope smiles from to-morrow, thou wouldst steep This hurt heart overmuch In balm with one kind touch. CHORDS. When love delays, when love delays and sorrow Drinks her own tears that fever her soul's thirst, And song, and sleep, and memory seem accurst, While hope smiles from to-morrow, I would borrow One smile from thee to cheer The weary, weary year. When love delays, when love delays and death flath sealed dim. lips and mocked young eyes with night, To love or hate locked calm, indifferent quite,- Hope's star-eyed acolyte,-what kisses' breath, What joys can slay regret, Or teach thee to forget II. If thou wouldst know the Beautiful tiat breathes Consang'lined with the Earth, go seek !-but seek No sighing shadows with dead hemalock-wreaths No sleepy sorrows whose wan eyes are weak With vanished vigils, melancholy made, Forlorn in lands of sin and saddening shade No tearful angers torn of truthless love, That stab their own hearts to the dagger's hilt For vengeance sweet ; no miser moods that fade In owlet towers. Such it springs above, And buds on morning meads no flowers that wilt. 3o go CHORDS. I. Lhou dost seek the Beautiful, beware Lest thou discover her, nor know 't is she And she enslave thee evermore, and there Reward thee with the kingliest beggary Make thine the red rose of her cheek that rt. , The kiss-sweet odor, thine, her wild breatl briongs Make thine the broad bloom of her crosswlne-d brow The prisoned lights that jewel her dark eyes The melody-which is herself-that sings The poem of her presence ; and the vow TFhat gods exalts andi mortals deifies. Lone art thou then ; lone as the lone first star Kindling pale ardor o'er the dlusk's gray wave Lost to all happiness save searching far Through lands of life where death hath dug thy grave: Lost-even as I-a devotee to her, Poor in world-blessed ness her bliss to share, But rich in passion.-In her hermitage Hope no Arabian splendor, for it lies Mossy by wooded waters ; hidden where She, the pure priestess, wiser than what 's sage, 'Shrines dreamers' hearts for godliest sacrifice. 111. Now that the orchard's leaves are sear, And drip with rain instead of dew, CHORDS. No moonbright fruit hangs moonlike here And dead your long, white lilies too- And dead the heart that broke for you. How comes the dim touch of your arm Your faint lips on my feverish cheek Your eyes near mine deep as a charm, And gray, so gray !-But I am weak. Weak with wild tears and can not speak. I am as one who walks with dreams Sees as in youth his father's home Hears fromn his native mountain streams Far music of continual foam, And one sweet voice that hails him home. 9I 92 POEMS OP IA TURE A ND LOVF. IAIPRESSIONS. I. O N, towards the purlieus of impossible space, From Death enamoured, Life capricious flies: Communicated sorrow of his face Freezing her ever backward burning eyes. 2. Man's days are planted as a flower-bed With labor's lily and the rose of folly: Beneath grief's cypress, pale, uncomforted, The phantom fungus blooms of melancholy. 3. With starry gold Night still endorses what Man's soul hath written, guessing at the skies Day on Night's scribble drops a fiery blot, And thwart the writing scrawls " The lie of lies." 4. And it may be that, seamed with iron scars, One in vast Hell shall lift fierce eyes above, And one, inviolate as God's high stars, Gaze from sad Heaven, alas ! and see, and love. IMPRESSISONS. 5. Into her heart's young crucible Life threw Affliction first, then Faith,-by which is meant Hope and Humility ;-Love touched the two, And, lo ! the golden blessing of Content. 6. As oft as Hope weighed coaxing on this arm, On that Despjair dashed heavily his fist He knew no way out of Grief's night and storm Until a child called Effort came and kissed. 7. Some obscene drug in her dull draught Sleep gave, And, dead, I lived, to hear a man-faced beast Dig, dig with wolfish fingers in my grave, With horrible laughter to a horrible feast. 8. Some few have pierced the phantom fogs, that veil Life's stormy seas, into futurity, And seen The Flying Dutchman's ominous sail, Portentous of dark things that are to be: Through hissing scud, mad mist, and roaring rain, On thundering seas, they see her drive and drive, Crowding wild canvas 'gainst the hurricane, Her demon ports with battle-lamps alive. 93 4 ,I1PRESS/ON-S, 9. POETRY. Who hath beheld the goddess face to face, Blind with her beauty, all his days shall go Climbing lone mountains towards her temple's place, Weighed with song's sweet, inexorable woe. IO. THE UNIMAGINATIVE. Each form of beauty 's but the new disguise Of thoughts more beautiful than forms can be Sceptics, who search with unanointed eyes, Never the Earth's wild fairy-dance shall see. II. MUSIC. God-born before the Sons of God, she hurled, With awful symphonies of flood and fire, God's name on rocking Chaos-world by world Flamed as the universe rolled from her lyre. I 2. THE THREE ELEMENTS. They come as couriers of Heaven: their feet Sonorous-sandaled with majestic awe; With raiment of swift foam and wind and heat, Blowing the trumpets of God's wrath and law. 94 IAPRESSIONS. I3. DESTINY. Withlin the volume of the universe With worlds she writes irrevocable laws From everlasting unto everlasting hers The evolutions of effect and cause. 14. FAME. A mirror, brilliant as a beautiful star, She lifts and sings to her own loveliness Not till her light and song have lured him far Does man behold the lie he (lid not guess. '5. THE HOURS. \With stars and dew and sunlight in your hair, Approach, 0 daughters of the Day ! who saith, ' The gifts my children bring are Rest and Care, Of which the last is Life, the first is Death." I ). DESPAIR. So sick at heart, so weary of the sun, In her sad halls my Soul sits desolate, Her Hope surrendered to Oblivion, Whose coal-black charger neighls benea-th the gate. 9)5 IMPRESSIONS. 17. THE MISANTHROPE. Shut in with its own selfishness his soul Sees-as a screech-owl in a hovel might, Blinking avoided daylight through one hole- The white world blackened by its own dull sight. 18. ROME. Above the Circus of the World she sat, Beautiful and base, a harlot crowned with pride Fierce nations, upon whom she sneered and spat,- tShrieked at her feet and for her pastime died. I9. THE HUN. On splendid infamies-a thousand years Heaven tolerated-like a Word that trod Incarnate of the Law, vast wrath and tears In pagan eyes, behold ! the Scourge of God. 20. GREECE. The godlike sister of all lands she stands Before the World, to whom she gave her heart, Still testifying with degenerate hands Her by-gone glory in enduring art. 96 IMPRESSIONS. 21. EGYPT. With ages weighed as with the pyramids And Karnac wrecks, still-out of Sphinx-like eves Beneath the apathetic lotus-lids- With Memnon moan her granite heart defies. 22. POE. Night's raven o'er its portal and (lay's dove, Wild witch-lights haunt an old-world-sculptured tomb Beside the corpse of beauty and of love Song's everlasting-lamp burns invthe gloom. 23. HAWTHORNE. Dim lands and dimmer walls, where magic slips A couch of velvet sleep beneath romance: Where speculation bends with longing lips Fearful to break the long-unbroken trance. 24. EMERSON. Our New-World Chrysostom, whose golden tongue Through nature preached philosophy and truth: Wise intimate of loveliness he sung, Old, yet instructing with the lips of youth. 7 97 98 IMPRESSIONS. 25. JAAFER THE VIZIER. Lutes, odorous torches, slaves and dancing girls In gardens by a moonlit waterside, And one whose wise lips scatter gold and pearls- Th' Arabian revels and the Barmecide. 26. ON READING THE LIFE OF HAROUN ER RESHID. Down all the lanterned Bagdad of our youth He steals, with golden justice for the poor: Within his palace-you shall know the truth- A blood-smeared headsman hides behind each (loor. POEMIS OF VA TURE AND LOVE. FRAGMENTS. I. THE curtains of my couch swNay heavily Ere death divides the curtains of my soul. Sleep, like a gray expression of ghost lips Heard through the moonlight of a haunted room, Glides unto me, while death stands near and leers. 2. "Stay not too long, love, stay not long away Said not my heart so when we kissed farewell But now my heart is heavy with hard news Of love that stooped for one last, bitter kiss. 3. Tear from my heart and under furious feet Trample the golden record of our love, Love's golden language, 0 despair, despair! 4. Night is a grave physician, who contrives The drug of sleep to heal day's bruises up, 99 FRA GMENTS. The drug of death for life's delirium.- On lost expanses of a phantom land Night stands: one hand of jewelled darkness points Where, baleful beacons, burn two sinister stars, Mournful o'er shadows of lugubrious hills And lamentable tempest, and a shape Placid and pale and silent utterly. 5. O undivulging, unresponsive shape, Is gold another name for power and crime Life, dust long dedicated unto death Death, darkness groping blindly towards a light Graven in gold do man's best deeds prevail, Steadfast as tablets of the eternal stars I0O POEMS OF NA TUR E AND LO VE. IDEAL DIVINATION. H OW I have thought of her, Her I have never seen Now from a raying air She, like a romance queen, Flowers a face, serene, Radiant in raven hair. Now in a balsam scent Laughs from the stars that gleam Naked and redolent, Bends to me breasts of beam, Eyes that will make me dream, Throat that the dimples dent. Love is all vain to me So: and as dust, severe Faith: and a barren tree, Truth: and a bitter tear, Joy: for I wait and hear Her who can never be. Living, we learn to know Life is not worth its pain Living, we find a woe IOI IDEAL DIVINA TION. Under each joy we gain Fardled of hope we strain Whither no hope may know. Life is too credulous Of time that beckons on. Memory still serves us thus- Gauging the coming dawn By a day (lead and gone, Day that 's a part of us. Soul-of life's sins so mocked, Cloyed in the flesh and held, Ever rebellion rocked, Battling, forever quelled, Yearning on heaven spelled Over of stars-lies locked Supine where torrents pour Hellward; on crags that high, Scarred of the thunder, gore Heaven ; the vulture's eye Swims, and the harpies' cry Clangs through the ocean's roar. Notes of seolian light Calling it hears her lips Scorched by her burning white Arms and her armored hips, Slimy each monster slips Back to its native night.- 102 IDEA L DI VINA TIOAT. Ruics she somie brighter star Inviolable queen Of what the destinies are She, with her light unseen Leading my life, a sheen Loftier than beauty far. Oh ! in my dreams she lies With me and fondles me Amaranths are her eyes; And her hair, shadowy Curlings of scent; and she Breathes at my heart and sighs. If with its slaves I bear All of life's tyranny,- Worm for the worm,-I care Naught if my spirit be Hers in eternity- Hers, who did make it dare. 10,3 I04 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. THE BEAUTIFUL. I. O F moires of placid glitter The moon is knitter, Under the jade-dark branches The blue night blanches Upon the torrent's arrow Gleams flash, as narrow As each blown tress of some pale sorceress, Spell-haunted, slumbering in a wilderness. O soul, who dreamest, ponder:- Thy witch, thy love, what wonder Of charms conceals her from thee powerless 2. On mountain lakes of glimmer White sheets of shimmer Burn glassy, as if inner Sea-castles,-thinner Than peeled pearl-crystal curlings,- Through eddy-whirlings Sprayed glow of lucid battlement and spire, The smoldering silver of their smothered fire And hers, thy love's enchanted Where are her towers planted - Heart! that thou couldst besiege them with thy lyre! THE BEA UTIFUL. 3 By sands of ruffled beaches On terraced reaches Of rolling roses, blowcving Mouths red as glowing Cheeks of the folk of Fairy A palace airy, With pointed casements, thrusts of piercing light, Piled full of melody and marble-white Where beauty, veiled and hidden, Smiles who my life hath bidden Come by her wisdom accoladed knight 4. The blue night's sweetness settles- Like hyacinth petals Bowed by their weight of teary Dew-dayward. \Weary One mocking-bird, moon-saddened, Sings on; and gladdened, My soul, dissolving, largens to the lie Named Death by mortal lips.-Love, tell me why I may not, thy defender, Mix with thee feel thy splendor Expand me like a bud beneath God's eye I105 POEM31S OF NA T1NRE AND LOVE. SLEEP. LOOK in my eyes !-Oh, the mild and mysterious Deeps of thine eyes that are holy w)ith rest !- Sigh to me ! yes, as thy cousin, imperious Love, might, with lips that are soft and delirious, Soft with such pureness as blesses the blessed. Fold all my soul in the mild and mysterious Mlight of thy rest. All the night for thy love, all the night ! while the gladdening Presence of dusk as a legend of old Speaks in me poesy: none of the saddening Prose of the day that is sad with the maddening Heart of unrest that is heartless and cold. All the night for thy love, all the night ! and its gladdening Beauty of old. Scorn is not thine, nor is hate ; but the bubbling Fountains of strength that are youthful as morn's: Hurt is not thine of remembrance ; the troubling Bruises of waking whose fingers keep doubling- Doubling on temples life's cares that are thorns. Thine are the hours of the stars and the bubbling Wells of the morns. SLEEP. Pride and the passions of greed that now worry us, Mix with and brutalize ; envy and spite At the heart, that 's an-ache with the tears that will hurry us On, with the iron of anguish, to bury us,- Touch them and calm with thy fingers of white. Make all these passions and pains, that now worry us, Night with the night. Thine are the mansions of slumber; the flowery Fields of the visions that blossom the dreams Thine, the high mountains of peace, that lie showery Under the stars: and the valleys of bowery, Balmy forgettings made misty with streams Thine, the white halcyon mansions, the flowery Pastures of dreams. Stay for me. Stand by me. Stoop to me. Pray for me. Pray, 0 thou essence, the incense of prayer Mother of hope ! whose kind eyes are a-ray for me, Vestal with goodness, and fill all the day for me New with a vigor that masters despair. Stay for me. Be of me breath of me. Pray for me, Sister of Prayer ! 107 Io8 PO EMS OF N.A TURE A ND L OV E. DISENCHANTMENT OF DEATH. H USH ! she is dead. Tread gently as the light Steals in the weary room. Thou shalt behold. Look :-in death's ermine pomp of awful white, Pale passion of pulseless slumber, very cold, Her beautiful youth ! Proud as heroic might- Death ! and how death hath made this vastly old. Old earth she is now energy of birth Hath fledged glad wings and tried them sud- denly; The eyes that held have freed their maiden mirth; Their sparks of spirit, which made this to be, Shine, fixed in rarer jewels not of Earth, In Fairylands beyond some silent sea. A sod is this: whence, what were once those eyes, Will grow blue wild-flowers in what happy air Some weed with flossy blossoms will surprise, Haply, what summer with her affluent hair! What roses bask those cheeks ! and the wise skies Will know her dryad to what young oak there ! DISENCHANTMENT OF DEA TH. The chastity of death hath touched her so, No dreams of life may reach her in her rest;- No dreams the heart exhausted here below, Sleep built within the romance of her breast. How she will sleep ! like music, breathing slow Through the dark germs, to golden life caressed. Low music, thin as winds that stir the grass, Smiting through red roots harpings ; and the sound Of Elfin revels when the deep dews glass Globes of concentric beauty on the ground; For tepid clouds, through rainy nights that pass, The prayer in flowers that the stars have crowned. So, if she 's dead, believe she is not dead. Disturb her not ; she lies so lost in sleep. Its narrow house of care the soul hath fled. Her presence leans above us, and the deep Is yet unvoyaged; and the hand, that led Her meek feet forward, stays her shouldst thou weep. To principles of passion and of pride, To trophied circumstance and specious law, Stale saws of life, with scorn now flung aside, From Mercy's throne and Truth's, wouldst thou withdraw Her, Hope in Hope, and Chastity's meek bride, In holiest Love of holy, without flaw IC( IIO DISENCHAN NTMEN T OF DEA TH. The anguish of the living,-merciless And bitter cruelty unto the grave,- Wrings the dear dead with more than grief's dis- tress, Earth chaining love, bound by the lips that rave. If thou hast sorrow, let thy sorrow bless The conqueror who leaves us less a slave. Unjust " -He is not. Yea, hast thou not all, All that thou ever hadst when this dull clay, Thy long belov d, made the spiritual A restless vassal of Earth's night and day This hath been thine and is: the cosmic call Hath but reclaimed its own and borne away. Thou unjust !-Bar not from its high estate,- WYon with what toil through devastating cares What bootless battling with the violent Fate What mailed endeavor with resistless years The soul, Heaven granted thee as earthly mate Being only loaned, return it not with tears ! POE2IS OF NTA TURE A ND LO VE. THE THREE URGANDAS. I. C AST on sleep there came to me Three Urgandas from the sea Moaning out of Briogne: Cloudy-clad in awful white And each face, a lucid light, Rayed and blossomed out of night. 2. In my sleep I saw them rest, Each a long hand at her breast, Like the half-moon in the west: Hair, like hoarded ingots, rolled Down their shoulders, burning cold, An insufferable gold. 3. Rosy round each high brow bent Fourfold starry gold that sent Barbs of fire redolent: 'Neath their burning crowns their eyes Shone like stormy stars the skies Rock in shattered storm that flies. I I I T2HE THREE URGANDAS. 4. Wisdom's eyes of lurid dark And each red mouth, like a spark, Flashed and laughed off care and cark Mouths for song and lips to kiss Lips for hate and mouths to hiss Mouths that fashioned pain or bliss. 5. Tall as stately virgins dead, Taivers lit at feet and head, Round whom Latin prayers are said: Or as vampire women who, Buried beauties, rise and woo Youths whose blood they suck like dew.- 6. And the west one said to me: " Thou hast slept thus holily While seven sands ran secretly. Earth hath served thee like a slave, Serving us who found thee brave, Faithful in the life we gave 7. "Know ! "-She touched my brow; a pain As of arrows pierced my brain; Ceased ; and earth fell, some vast strain- I 12 THE THREE URGA NDA S. And I understood all thought; What life is, the spirit fraught Love and hate ; how worlds are wrought. 8. And the east one said to me: " Thou hast wandered wearily By what mist-enveloped sea ! Know the thi!Ages thou hast not seen Life and law, and love and teen; Things that be and have not been 9. See !"-Her voice sobbed like a lyre, Comprehending all desire In its gamut's singing fire- Lifting inner eyelids, which Dimmed clairvoyance, with a twitch, All my soul with light was rich 10. And I saw the eyes of sleep; Nerves of change that rule the deep; Laws of entity that sweep Orbs and eons ; springs of power; Circumstance, blown like a flower; Time, the fragment of an hour.- 8 113 114 THE THREE URGA NDA S. 'Neath the central third one's will, Balanced being that did thrill, All my soul lay very still, As she sternly stooped to me " Thou dost know, and thou canst see What thou art arise and be !' I2. To my mouth her lips she pressed And my naked soul, thrice blessed, Quaffed her radiance and caressed Mounted and vibrating fled; Soared with her to them that said, " Thou dost live and thou art dead." POEM.S OF -A TNRE AN IRONE. are, THE LEGACY OF DEATH. THE moonbeams on the hollies glow Pale where she left me; and the snow Lies bleak as moonshine on the graves, Ribbed with each gust that shakes and waves Ancestral cedars by her tomb. She lay so beautiful in death, In death's dim loveliness, the gloom, The iciness that takes the breath, The sense of worms, were not too strong To keep me from beholding long. I stole into the mystery of Her old, armorial tomb ; and love Sighed all its romance to my heart. Soft indistinctness of pale lips Breathed on my hair ; faint finger-tips Fluttered their starlight on my brow Vrague kisses touched my eyes, and now, Hard on my lips, an aching sense Of vampire winning. And I heard Her name slowv-svllabled-a word Of haunting harmony-and then Low-whispered, " Thou ! at last, 'tis thou And sighs of shadowy lips again. THE LEGA CY OF DEA TH1. How madly strange that this should be For, had she loved me when of earth, It were not now so marvellous, So marvellous, remembering me With dead for living love, though worth Less, yes, far less to both of us. And so I wondered, listening there, " What deed of niine, or thought hath wrought This love from hlate in after-life She giveth back " and everywhere Around my life I thought and thought And-nothing; only, how my love Had still persisted 'neath her hate That made her Appolonio's wife. Her hate ! her lovely hate !-for of Her naught I found unlovely-an(l I felt she did not understand My passion, so't were well to swait. And now I felt her presence near, I full of life, yet had no fear There in the sombre silence, mark. And it was dark, yes, deadly dark; But when I slowly drew away The pall, death modeled with her face,- From face and limbs it fell and lay Rich in the dust,-the shrouded place Was glittering d(aggered by the spark Of one wild ruby at her throat, Red-arrowed with star-heated throbs THE LEGA Cl OF DEA Tn. That made it pulse. And note on note The darkness fought with tenuous sobs Of glimmering from out that stone, Lustrous and large against her throat As her large eyes when they could see And standing by the dead alone I wondered not that this should be. Red essence of an hundred stars In fretful crimson through and throaigh Its bezels beat, when, bending do-own My hot lips kissed her mouth. And scars Of veiny scarlet and of blue, Flame-hearted, blurred the midniglht, and The vault rang-and. I felt a hand Like fire in mine. And, lo, a frown Broke up her face as gently as A breeze that jolts the ripening grass And spills its rain-drops. When this passed, Through song-soft slumber bii'iding fast, Slow smiles dreamed outward beautiful And Nith each smile I heard the dull Deep music of her heart and saw, As by some necromantic law, Faint tremblings of a lubric light Float through white temples and wh-hite throat And each long pulse was as a note, That gathering, like a strong surl)rise With all its happiness, again Left her arch lips one wistful smile I 17 THE LE GA C Y OF DEA TH. That lingered languidly: yet p.ainl Ached 'neath her eyelids, making sight Insufferable. . . . Yet those eyes Grew wide unto my kisses-yea, They wvere unsealed ! And all the fire Of that dark ruby at her throat, Arrow by arrow, into them smote And as some harmony entire Was she, but how, I can not say. And forth into the night I brouglt Her beautiful ; and o'er the snow,;' Where moonbeams on the hollies glow, I led her. But her feet no print, No lightest trace in frost, no dint Left of their nakedness. I thought, The moonlight fills them with its glow And covers ;-and the tomb was black, Then this strong light--yes ! " turning back My eyes met hers; and as I turned, Flashing centupled facets, burned That red gem at her throat ; and I Studied its beauty for a while: " How came it there, and when, and why Who set it at her throat again, Why was it there " So pondering I questioned. And a far, strange smile Filled all her face, and secret pain Gave to her words a bitter ring: " Thou ! thou ! alas ! " she said and sighed 118 THLE LEGA CY OF DEA TH. " AnCl if I am not lead, 't is thou ! See where thy heart's-blood beateth now, Here ! " and she leaned unto me, eyed Like some wise serpent that hath still Lain all night on wild rocks to stare At labyrinthine stars until Its eves have learned their golden glare. And then I took her by the wrists And drew her to me. Faintly felt The sorrow of her hair; whose mists Fell twilight-deep and dimly smelt Still of the shroud and tomb. And she Smiled on me with such sorcery As well might win a soul from God To fiends and furies. And I trod On white enchantments and was long A song and harp-string to a song, Love's battle in my blood. And there Kissing her throat, her mouth, her hair, I stole the jewel from her throat With crafty fingers, to admire The witchcraft of its fevered fire It, in the hollow of my hand, A rosy spasm seemed to float, A heart of anger fiercely fanned With red convulsions: like a brand I felt it scorch me ; felt it run Swift through my pulses like a sun Of torrid Doison. And I marked 1I9 120 THE LEGA CY OF DEA TI-f. My palm brim full with blood; and slow Big drops drip beads of oozing glow, Like holly-berries, on the snow. Then all the night, contracting, darked Upon me and I heard a sigh So like a moan, 't was as if years Of anguish bore it: and the sky Swam near me as when seen through tears: And she was gone. . . . In ghostly gloom Of dark, scarred pines a crumbling tomb Loomed like a mist. Carved in its stone Above the lintel, dim and deep, Glimmered the legend of her sleep "Love crowned wit/h death our lovely one. Our hearts bow by her side and weep. A nd one sits weeping all alone." POEMS OF NA T'URE AND lOVE. I. THE CAVERNS OF KAF. [Love Sensual.] [lzcere ain I' cried he; ' wzhat are these dreadful rocks these valleys of darkness are we arrived at the horrible Aaf ' "-VATHEK. O NE Benreddin, I have heard, Near the town of Mosul sleeping, In a dream beheld a bird, Wonderful with plumes of sweeping Whiteness crowned pomegranate-red: Ever near him still it fled Brilliant as a blossom: keeping Near the Tigris, him it led. Following, Benreddin came To a haggard valley, shouldered Under peaks that had no name: Here it vanished : on the bouldered Savageness a woman, fair In a white simarre, rose there, Auburn-haired: around her smouldered Pensive lights of purple air. I 2I 7THE CA VERNS OF KA F. And she led iinm down to vast Caves of sardonyx, each ceiling Domed with chrysoberyl : blast In blast of music,-stealing Out of aural cjories,-nears Rushing on his eager ears To recede in echoes, pealing Psalteries and dulcimers. Wildly sculptured slabs did weave W"ialls of story ; where, embattled, Warred Ansshaspand and the Deev; Over all two splendors rattled Arms of Heaven, arms of Hell; Forms of flame that seemed to swell Godlike: Aherman who battled With Ormuzd he shall not quell. And Benreddin wondered till The reverberant music drifting Strong beyond his utmost will, Rolled him onward where, high lifting Pillar and entablature, Vast with emblem, yawned a door- Valves of liquid lightning shifting In and out and up and o'er. . Walls of serpentine deep-domed Green with agate and with beryl Tortuous diaper crusted foamed Rough with jewels : and, as peril 122 TIHE CA T ERNS bF y.-i F. Difficult, a colonnade Ran of satin-spar to fade Far in labyrinths of sterile Tiger-eye that, twisting, rayed. Dizzy stones of magic price Crammed volute and loaded corbel Iridescent shafts of ice Leapt: with long reechoed warble Waters unto waters sang: Curling arc and column sprang Into fire as each marble Fountain flung its drift that rang. And around him, filled with sound, Surfs o[ resonant colors jetted Sun-circumferences that wound Out of arcades, crescent-fretted, Mists of citron and of roon, Lemon lights that mocked the moon, Shot with scarlet, veined and netted, Beating golden hearts of tune. Discs of rose and lily-hue: Orbs of down-dilating splendor In whose centers slowly grew Spots like serpent eyes that, slender, Glared with undecided beams Burning through dissolving gleams, Hissed a trail of fire, tender As an lonr's breath who dreams. 123 THE CA VERS OF KA F. Characters of Arabic, Cabalistic, red as coral, Through vague violet veils flashed quick, Changing ; as if fierce at quarrel Iran wrote of Turan there Hate and scorn, or everywhere Wrought swift talisman and moral Stern the Afrits dare not dare. Sounding splendors led him on To a crystal cavern; hollow Hewn of alabaster wan, Lucid, whence his gaze could follow Far transparent flights in flights Rolling ; drowvned in singing lights Glaucous gold ; he like a swallow O'er a lake the morning smites. Down the dome laughed out and in Sensuous faces of the Peris: Restless eyes of Deevs and Jinn In the walls watched: unseen faeries Out of rainbows rained and tossed Flowers of fire full of frost; Blossoms where the fire varies And the smouldering scent is lost. Still below these, face to face, Seven odalisques of Heaven Swung within a silver space Flaming censers; and the seven 124 THE CA VIER NS OF KA F. Crowned with stars of burning green, Mounted cloudy incense, seen, As it rose, to be a driven Hippogrif or rosmarine: Aloes, Nard and Ambergris, Sandal, Frankincense and Civet,- Riders of the fragrances,- Rein each wild aroma; give it Spurs and race it down the lull Of the caverns, clouded dull With white steeds of musk they rivet Vaporous and beautiful. And Benreddin's passive soul, To hot eyes intoxicated, Ached ; and, drinking at the whole Fountain of fierce Passion, sated Drank unsatisfied. It saw Cheeks of light without a flaw, Breasts of bloom with breathings bated, Limbs translucent nearer draw. Houri eyes and wafted hair Brilliant blackness. Then a thunder Of hoarse music, that did bear Upward, organed in the under Caverns of the demon world. Koran scrolls of glisten curled Sparkling by him ; and a wonder Of coerulean mottoes swirled. 125 THE CA VERNS OF KA F. Then one long note made of sighs.- A muezzin cry repeated, Dying downward.-Burning eyes, AMelting from him, passion-heated. Then sad voices, far away, Choral. Then one rocking ray Angry flamed and angry fleeted From a violent red to gray. And, 't is told, this one was young, Young that morning. When the darting, Anguish-throated bulbuls sung, Through the silent starlight starting, One, a Baghdad merchant, led By the white light on its head, Found a hoary shadow. Parting Hair from face, Benreddin-dead. I126 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOV E. 127 II . THE SPIRIT OF THE VAN. [Love Idleal.] "'Ailion the miountains of Carmiarthen, lies a beautiful and romantic piece of water, named The Van Pools. Tradition Wrte(ts, that after nid- niz-ht, on Arew Year's Eve, there af5pears on this lake a being named The Spirit of the Van. She is dressed in a white robe, bouned bya a golden girdle;, her hair is long and golden, her face is pale and mldancloly. "-FAIRY MYTHOLOGY. MIDSUMMER-NIGHT; the Van; through niglht's wan noon, Wading the storm-scud of an eve of storm, Pale o'er Carmarthen's peaks the mounting moon.- W0ilds of Carmarthen ! sullen heights that swarm Girdling lone waters-as gaunt wizards might Crouch guarding some enchanted gem of charm- Wilds of Carmarthen, that for me each night Reecho prayers and pleadings,-all the year Unanswered, made to listening waters,-white, The bitter white of Winters and the clear T HE SPIRIT OF THE VAN. Cool eyes of girlish Springtide, and the slow Sweet gaze of languid Summer, and the dlear Dark eyes of tristful Autumn saw me so, Unhappy, lost among your moaning hills! Should any ripple tremble into glow, When yeasty moonshine scuds the foam, there thrills Heart's expectation tlir(ugh glad veins and high With " She " each pulse the exultation fills. But she 't is never. Once . . and then would I Hadl fall'ii abolished so beholding ! . . . World, What sadder hast than beauty that must die - Onice I beheld her !-if some fiend had curled Stiff talons through my hair, and, twisting tight, Scoffed, " Burn and be ! " then into hell had hurled Me satisfied with beauty-beauty's white Bloom heavenizing hell-1, unamerced, Shackled with tortures, might have moclked hell's spite. Immortal memory of love, I thirst O starlike beauty that the memory wove, In that I love thee am I so accursed - 011h, makz me mad with love, with all thy love Who tell it to these wilds when midnights gloom Storms or drip gold from sibylline stars above: Let thy high favor all heaven's fires consume Quench with thy starry presence! and make mad Me with sweet madness ! slay me with perfume I128 THE SPIRIT OF THE VAN. Sleep may I not nowe for all sleep is sad. Cheated of thee, sad are all tearful dreams A shadowy sorrow haunts With what hath clad Day's tyrannous hope in life that only seems And seeming hope forever needs must pine Seeking evasions that are form-fixed gleams.- Though thou be wrought from elements divine, And I crass earth exalted, which will think, Since I am thine this makes me think thee mi ne, Must I, its usual phantom, the still brink Of thy lone lake bewilder nightly Y earn For that bright vision of a moment's wink When, giassing out great circles, which did urn Some intense essence of interior light,- As clouds, that clothe the moon, unbinding burn, Riven, erupt her orb, triumphant white,- Middle the Van foam, churned to feathering fire, Dilated ivory-wan. Expectant night Tip-toed attentive, fearful to suspire, When there uprose-what pure divinity What goddess sensed wvith glory and desire: One melancholy instant born to be- Love's ! and sunk back where burst a brassy black O'er glittering waves that sighed with ecstasy. Thou ! in whose path harmonious hues bloomed back, Pale pearl and lilac, asphodel and rose, Like many flowers blooming in thy tracks. 9 129 THE SPIRIT OF THE VANA. And I alone ; to marvel as who knows He is not dead and yet it seems he is, Tranced but in body while the spirit glows.- 0 world-sweet face ! browN, one white, angel kiss High immortality !-To fancy such, Dance starlight in a lily's loveliness.- Waist-bound with moony gold, too base to clutch Her godlike chastity, though clear as gum That almugs sweat, and fragrance to the touch And hair--not hair ! gold rays, like those that come Strained through the bubble of a chrysolite, Curled quiverings of light that clung and clomb. Such left me such ; deep on my soul's quick sight Eternal seared ; my life-a stealing shade Avoiding day and ardent for the night A raver to the hoarv hills which laid Their dumb society in ruth on who Shunned all companionship of man and maid: Boon comrade of the mountain blossoms blue Instructed intimate of trees, that they- Wise as the legendary world that drew Oracles from lips in oaks-might haply say Prophetic precepts to him: how were won A spirit loved to love a mortal.-Vea, In vain! Yet one day, log-like in the sun Beside a cave,-the mandrake vines made rank, And hairy henbane, where huge spiders spun,- Wrinkled as MNagic, I a grizzled, lank, I30 THEF SPIRIT OF THE VAN. Squat something startled; naught but skin and hair, With eyes wherein two demons brewed and drank Disputing dreams, which made them shrink or glare; Familiars that,-beholding me draiw near,- With frog-like lips croak'd at me, " Do and dare ! Woo her with thy heart's actions; making clear Thy soul's white passage for her coming feet. Climb to her love and crawl ! Fear naught but fear ! Thus have I done these many months. Repeat Acts of the heart with passionate offering Of love whose anguish makes it seven-times sweet. Still all in vain, in vain. Now I but bring My simple self to-night, unfearing, see! Myself unto thee !-Shall this clay still cling Clogging fulfillment thy love's mastery Be balked by flesh No ! let me plunge and fly Deep to thy mounted throne of majesty ! Gaze in thine eyes one splendid instant-die To epochs of the elements ! One kiss Of thine to give me immortality Part of thy breathing waves, that laugh and hiss WVith tides,--thy winds,--that rock the awful deeps, Or build with song vast temples for thyr bliss 13f 132 THE SPIRIT OF THE VAN. To thrill responsive as thy white hand sweeps The chords of some sad shell, and dream and roam Through glaucous chambers where the green day sleeps ! Dead not with death !- What secrets hath thy home Not mine then, storied in exultant foam - Deeper, down deeper! yea, behold, I come POEMS OF NA TURE AND LO VE. T 3 III. THE SPIRIT OF THE STAR. [Love' spir-itual.] This union of the human soul with the divine Tthereal substance of the unicrse, is the ancient doctrine of Pythagoras and P/ato: but it seems to exclude anys personal or consti'ous immor- tality. "-DIVINE LEGATIO.N. T HERE is love for love: the heaven Teems with possibilities: Earth hath such as heaven hath given Earth and all her sister seas. Heaven and earth and sea is gladder For it; only man is sadder, W\axing wise in night' for driven Drift of light he never sees. There are lives for lives ; and beauty Born for beauty on the earth Faith for faith's immortal booty Ris'n to some celestial worth THE SPIRIT OF THE STAR. Song for every song ; unfolding Hope for dying hope ; a holding Duty towards aspiring duty, Godly as the laws of birth. Earth arid ocean are prolific Of God's wonders as our sky; With wild shapes of fair, terrific, Who, if loved, shall never die: Doemons rugged as their mountains; Spirits sunny as their fountains Sylphids of the wind, pacific As the stars they tremble by . I was lonely; long had waited For the sweet, eternal sleep Watching where the worlds dilated, Waned or wasted in the deep: Where beneath my star a planet Whirled and shone like glowing granite, While around it ne'er abated Orbs of fire in their sweep. I was sad ; the silence wilted Round me like a scentless bud Fading ere it blows. The quilted Clouds, like bursts of rushing blood Streamed beneath me. And the starry Blue serene above arched, barry With the golden stars, that filled it With their lofty sisterhood. I34 THE SPIRIT OF THE STAR. I was loveless with a yearning After love that never came All my astral passion burning Outward; to no blushing shame Immolated; but a splendor Of intention that was tender To compulsion ; all returning On my heart with fiercer flame. So I left the stars whose lances Shook their arrowy gold in heat Of hard hyacinth ; the glances Of their million moony feet Ranged about me leaving. Beating Downward, left them still repeating Far farewells ; and through the trances Of dark space their eyes looked sweet. Passed your moon : saw melancholy Alabaster summits sharp Cataracts of crystal volley Over silver crag and scarp On the mountains,-like a story Of high Heaven revealed in glory,- Growing as if music slowly Built it, rolling from a harp,- Rose a city: cloudy nacre Wpere its walls, that towered round Acre upon arching acre Of a marble-terraced ground: Ins1 THE SPIRIT OF THE STA AR. Caryatids alternated. With Atlantes sculpture-weighted And its gates-some god the maker- Valves of symboled diamond. In the pure light glittered swimrning Domes of dazzle ; swirl on swirl, Columned temples bubbled brimming Roofs of daedal-eniblemned curl Galleries of moonstone darkied Palaces, whose pillars sparkled Misty opal ; and, far dimming, Aqueducts of ghostly pearl. I beheld it and descended Earthward. For the longing drew Me, and drawing me was blended With a world I never knew. And, did every star forsake me, I had answered what did take me Earthward, where it swung its splendid Sphere along the rocking blue. And when night came, lo, above you, Sleeping by your folded sheep, O'er the hills I rose. To love you Came, and kissed you in your sleep. And the destinies had wrought it So you knew me. You, who thought it Not so strange that I should love you, I a spirit of the deep. I136 THE SPIRIT OF THE STAR. P3. Ah, you knew how she had found you Sometime in some life not sad Won your soul to hers and bound you With chaste kisses that were glad Men forget, but we remember !- And the love, that made an ember Of your soul once, falls around you- And your nakedness is clad. Being Beauty's now,-one petal Of its passion-flower,-far Past Earth's ignorance-a metal, Rusted, that reflects no star- Live beyond men lest they shame you! Lest their shame, not I, should blame you Dream ! and when the shadows settle, Be the dream you dream you are ! 137 I38 POEMS OF NA TURE A ND LO VE. LYANNA. These elementary beings, we are told, were by their constitution more long-lived than man, but with this essential disadvantage, that at death they wholly ceased to exist. In the meantime they were inspired with an earnest desire for immortality; and there was one way left for them, by which this desire might be gratifL'd. If they were so happy as to awaken in any of the initiated a passion the end of which was mzarriatge, then the sylph became im- mortal. "-LIVES OF THE NECROMANCERS. THE Summer came over the southern ocean Girdled with fire, tiaraed with light Laughter her eyes and her lips-a potion To quaff with kisses and know its might: A shadow that sparkled and flashed; a motion Blushed from the uttermost south, and I, Of the race of the Sylphs, far over the ocean Followed her up the sky. An exile I to the mists that cluster, Pulsing with pearl and braided with blue, Large, luminous domes where the organs bluster Low of the winds ; where my brother-crew, L YA NA.7'3 When the day dreams up, in their bright bands muster, Ranges of glitter through cloudy gold, At the gates of the Dawn, xvhose limbs are lustre, To wait till her gates unfold. For the Summer murmured me, " Follow ! follow Whispered, and promising whispered, " Love ! "- Winged with the wings of the sweeping swallow, I followed the wings of the drifting (love " Love, and a mortal," and fain did I follow " Love, and immortal," my flight wtas strong " Life !" and my life seemed vain and hollow "Love ! " and my heart was song. Fleet as the winds are fleet, yea, and fleeter Far than the stars, that throbbed like foam Through the billowy blue, in musical meter Winnowed our wings; and the golden gloam Rang; and life was a passion, completer Than Edens of flowers; and faith, a lyre That sang at the heart to make hope sweeter, And hope, a leaping fire. So to the north our wings went maying Resonant ways, till a castle shone Gaunt on great cliffs, and the late skies graying O'er walls of war and o'er towers of stone. I 39 14 L 1A 'NNA. A fall of steps to the sea where, spraying, Thundered the breakers ; and terrace and stair, Rock o'er the waters, rose rosy and raying Deep in the sunset glare. A dewdrop burns when the dawn lights prickle: All of my being tingled with light, Blossomed against her tarrying, fickle White on the terraced height: Beauty that stood like a moon in sickle,- A slender moon that the winds bleach bleak, With its hue like honeys that drip and trickle From combs whose wax is weak.- In dreams I came to her, lo ! as a vision: Yea, in her sleep as a dream was wound: Of her vestal chastity held : a prison Her innermost spirit that took and bound. And her rest I stole ; for sleep in derision Mocked at my hope for a love that slept: So her soul I awakened ; lo ! it had risen, And answered my soul and wept. " Lyanna, I hoop thee with arms of fire! "- My voice was a hand of music that wvrote,- " Lyanna, my life is a single wire, Thy love is its single note. Hast thou known me thus Shall it sound entire, Full as the angels' who hover and harp To the glory that's God, like one golden lyre Borne in a beam that is sharp 140 L YA NNA. Gladdened a splendor of rose, a splendor Out of the East: and the ruby bloom Hiding-what, love Two eyes that are tender Two lips that are flame, and limbs of perftumt-ne And fragrant fire -And who was the sender To thee of this lover" . .. And, bending lowv, Spiritual mny speech as a flower that, slender, Blooms when the wild stars blow. Seemed all her passionate pulses to quicken; Flowed all her soul to her eyes; but sleep Shadowed her voice; and her voice seemed to thicken With sorrow that longed to weep: "Yea, I divined thee, yea, and was stricken. Morn was my messenger-dove of love. Alas ! I divined ; and I seemed to sicken, To perish and pine thereof. "'White are the clouds; but I knew thee whiter In dazzling domes of the Dawn: I knew, Though bright are God's stars, that thine eyes were brighter, Brighter and burning blue. And iny love was thine; though it held thee slighter Than breezes bruiting it, murmuring by; And waited and yearned, and the yearning tighter Than tears in the hearts that die. 14, L YA IVNA. 'Lyanna ! Lyanna ! ' thou calledst ever: Lyanna " a ripple of rays that came Lyanna, thy name is like song forever ! And I marveled at my name. The voice was such as if stars should sever For utt'rance of silver-syllabled beams: 'Lyanna ! Lyanna !' I turned, but never Informed thee more than my dreams. Thou walkedst a beauty afar: a glitter Of gleaming aroma: and I with moan Flung thee mine arms: and thy gaze was bitter, Calmer and sterner than stone Avoiding thou passedst in scorn . . . oh, fitter The hate of all Heaven for me than this, Thy scorn !-and I wept, when, oh, a flitter Of fire, a laugh, and a kiss ! " . . . I had won her love. And the lungs of the thunder Trumpeted tempest ; and dark the seas Lunged at the walls like a roaring wonder; And the black rain buzzed like bees.- Lyanna my bride. And the heavens asunder Rushed-chasms of glaring storm, where ran The thunder's cataracts rolling under- For, behold ! her race was man. Mine, of the elements. At the moth-white portal Of dreams stood the soul with her name. I saw The glory and said, " Of the utterly mortal Mine the eternal lot and law !- I42 L YA NNA. '43 Thou lovest me "-" Yea ! dost thou question "- " Immortal Am I through thy love, 0 Lyanna I" . . 'T is said, Behold, when they came in the morn, a-startle Were lips with " Lyanna is dead! " 1X44 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. MASKS. C'ucullus no0 facit monac/zhu. LIVE it down ! as you have spoken. You could live it ere you knew What love was-" a bauble broken Of a foolish thing untrue."- You, Viola, with your beauty, Cloistered, die a nun No ; you- You must live, and 't is your duty. There 's your poniard; for the second In this tazza dropped; the blood On it scarcely hard. I reckoned Happily that hour we stood There upon your palace stairway, How, with the Franciscan hood Cowled, I said, there was a bare way, In the minster there I found it- Your revenge. I saw him wild Stalking to the church ; around it Dogged him, marking how he smiled In the moonlight where he waited. When the great clock beating dialed Ten, I knew he would be mated. AIA SKS. Heaven or my better devil !- Hardly had his sword and plume Vanished in the dark, than, level On the long lagune, did loom Into moonlight-woven arches Her slim gondola; all gloom: One tall gondolier ; no torches. Dusky gondolas kept bringing Revellers ; and far the night Rang with merriment and singing.- From the imbricated light Of the oar-vibrating water, Gliding up the stairway, white, Velvet-masked-the count's own daughter. Quickly met her: whispered, " Flora, Gaston.- Iria, till they go One brief moment here, Siora." She '11 perceive us-she below With the duchess diamonds sparkling Round th' inviolable glow Of her throat-must pass us darkling " She 's Viola ! " . . . And I drew her In the old neglected pile- Under her black mask I knew her, By the chin, the lips, the smile. Through the marble-foliated Window fell the moonrays. While All the maskers passed we waited. IO T45 6MA SKS. I had drawn the dagger, Turning Called her by her name. Some lie Of a passion sighed, her burning Cheek on mine when, gliding by In the light his form bejewelled Gleamed. My very blood burned dry With the hate his presence fueled. My revenge: up-pushing slightly Cowl, the mask fell and revealed Balka as the poniard whitely Flashed. The hollow nave re-pealed One long shriek but once repeated. Yet, I stabbed her thrice. She reeled Dead. I thought of you, the heated Horror on my hands, and tarried Like the silence. Drawn aside On her face the mask hung, married To its camphor pallor: wide Eyes with terror-stone. One second I regretted, then defied All remorse. Your promise beckoned, And I left her. Love had pointed Me this way. I walked the way Clear-eyed and . . . it has anointed Us fast lovers will you say Yes or in despair go nun it For this man who scorned you -Nay !- Live to hate him, you 've begun it. i46 POE] L'T OF NA TURE AND LOVE. THE SUCCUBA. I HAVE dreams where I believe I am prince of some dim palace; One, at morn my Genevieve, Is at night the Lady Alice Long, long dead, who was my bride: And she glowers at my side Paly as a crystal chalice Filled with fire diamond-dyed. I have dreams and I shall die Wondering on them. I remember In my sleep her icy eye Draws me with its mournful ember Up a castle's stairs that pave Alabaster to the wave, Ghostly in the gray November; And my soul is all her slave. Walls of shadow and of night Slit with casements full of fire, Ruby or a piercing white: As the wind breathes lower, higher, 147 THE SUCCUBA. Round the towers spirit things Whisper, and a moaning sings In the strings of each huge lyre Set upon its four chief wings. In its corridors at tryst Flame-eyed phantoms meet. Its sparry Halls are misty amethyst, Battlemented 'neath the starry Skies of death that none has known; Heavens with the green stars sown Low and large, and all their barry Beams blown on an ocean lone. Can it be a witch is she Or a vampire, who is whiter Than the spirits of the sea For my dreams inform her brighter Than the faint foam-blossoms. Lo, All this passion is my foe ! For her love lies tighter, tighter On my heart than utter woe. I but vaguely know I live Two pale lives of sweetest sorrow, Where my love must give and give Passion, that its soul must borrow Of the living, to the dead, To the dear unhallowed: And should I be death's to-morrow, If I knew, I could not dread. I48 THE SUCCUBA. Lo, my dreams have drowned that place In all moon-white flowerers: lilies Like the influence of a face; Knots of pearly amaryllis; Cactus-bulks with pulpy blooms Puffy in the silver glooms; White each hill with daffadillies O'er the olive ocean looms. But to me their fragrance seems Poison ; and their lambent lustre, Spun of twilight and of dreams, Poison ; and each frosty cluster Hides a serpent's fang, and I Looking from an oriel, sigh; For my soul doth ache to muster Heart to breathe of them and die. Then I feel big eyes as bright As the sea-stars. Gray with glitter Glides unto me, clad in white, She. Deep hangings sway and flitter Loves and deeds of Amadis Darkly worked. And, lo, this is She the night brings, sweet and bitter With a bliss that is not bliss. And I kiss her eyes and hair Smooth her tresses till their golden Glimmer sparkles. Everywhere Shapes of strange aromas, holden 149 THE SUCCUBA. Of her halls, about us troop Foggy forms, that float and stoop, On slow swells of rolling, olden Music, odorous loop in loop. Still I see beneath it all- All this sorcery-a devil, Beautiful and grandly tall, Broods with shadowy eyes of evil And I know, each lilac morn, In that land a cactus-thorn, Monstrous on some lonely level, Blooms for her I may not scorn. I have dreams where I believe I am prince of some dim palace; One, at morn my Genevieve, Is at night the Lady Alice Long, long dead.-Who may be brave, Held and haunted of the grave When through some unholy malice One a prince is and a slave. 150 POEMS OF NA TURE AND LOVE. BLODEUWEDD. N OT to that demon's son, whom Arthur erst, For prophecy, at old Caerlleon durst Grace wisely, Mlerlin,-not to him alone Did those lost learnings of high magic, done With mystery and marvels, then belong: Taliesin, now, hath told us in a song Of one at Arvon, Math of Gwynedd; lord Of some vague cantrevs of the North; whose sword Beat back and slew the monarch of the South Through puissance of Gwydion. His mouth Was wise with wondrous witchcraft ; for his word Wrought the invisible visible and stirred Eyes with a seeming sight that, so deceived, The mind conceited shapes and shapes believed Wrought flesh creations from air elements, For, let him wish, the winds were wan with tents, And brassy blasts of war from bugles brayed, And armored hosts of battle clanged and swayed, And at a word were not. 'With little care Steeds, rich-accoutred, and pied hounds, as fair, Limber, and wiry as the dogs of Earth, Fashioned from forest fungus, and gave birth I5I 5LODEUW1'EDD. To lives of twice twelve hours, wherein they moved Existences, and form perfections proved. Now, to Caer Dathyl, Math through Gwydion,- The son of Don,-the daughter dark of Don, The silver-circled Arianrod, had brought:- A southern rose of beauty, friendship sought For full espousal. When the maiden came Said Math, " Art thou a virgin " like a flame, Mantling, her answer angered, "Verily, I know not other, lord, than that I be ! " So wrought he then through magic that the form Of her boy baby seemed upon her arm, A chubby child. " A Mary -Vea," laughed Math, "Forsooth, another Mary ! " then in wrath Set harsh hands on the babe and fiercely flung Far in the salt sea. But the hard winds clung Fast to the Elfin and the lithe waves swept Him safely shoreward dry. Some fishers kept Him thus unseaed and christened Dylan, fair Son of the Wave, and fostered him with care. Nor really was this hers. But Gwydion, Brother to Arianrod, before the sun Had time to touch it with one golden glaive, Some dim small body on the castle pave In raven velvet seized ; and, hiding, he I152 BLODE UI'TEDD. Stole this from court, to subtly raise to be A comely youth. In time to Arianrod Brought, swearing by the rood and blood of God This asas his sister's son. Quoth she: " More shame Dost thou disgrace thee with to mix our name With this dishonor, brother, than myself ! " And, waxing wroth, cried Gwydion, " The Elf Is thine God's curse ! " and daggered her with looks. And she in turn waxed fiery saying, " Bools Of wisdom I have read as well as thou And, yea, upon thy folly, listen, now I lay a threefold destiny The first- Until I name him, nameless is he !-Cursed Be they who give him arms with palsy ! nor Shall he bear such until I arm for war. And, lastly, know, however high his birth, He shall not wed a woman of the Earth !- Malignity ! to shame me with thy sin ! " So passed into her tower and locked her in. But Gwydion, departing with the youth, Sware he would compass her; if not through truth, Through wiles of learned magic. And he wrought So that unbending Arianrod was brought To name the lad. Again he managed that, Through fierce enchantments as of war, he gat I153 BL ODE UWEDD. Her to give arms. But then, not for his life, Howbeit, could he get the youth a wife. Persisting desperate, anon the thing Wrought in him blusterous as a backward spring. Now Llew the youth ws as named. And Gwydion Made his complaint to Math, the mighty son Of Mlathonwy. Said he: " Despair not. We By charms, illusions, and white sorcery Will seek to make-for have we not such powers -A woman for him out of forest flowers." And so they toiled together one wan night, When the gray moon hung low and watched, a white, Wild witch's face behind a mist. They took Blossoms of briers by a bloomy brook Shed from the April hills ; and phantom blooms Of yellow broom that filtered faint perfumes Thin, rare, frail primroses of rainy smell, Weak pink, cirque-clustered in a glow-w orm dell; Wild-apple sprigs that tipsied bells of blaze And in far, haunted hollows made a haze Of ghostly, fugitive fragrance ; plaintive blue Of hollow harebells hoary with the dew; Kingcups as golden as the large, low stars; And lilies which, rolled limpid in long bars Like sleepy starshine, swayed aslant and spilled Slim nectar-cups of musk the rain had filled; 154 BL ODE UWEDP. And paly, wildwood windflowers, slight of gloss, Dotting the oak-roots bulging up the moss; Lone on the Elfin uplands pulled the buds, That burn like spurts of moonlight when it suds The rainy clouds, of blossomed meadow-sweet, And made a woman tall, from crown to feet Complete in beauty. One far lovelier Than Branwen, daughter of the gray King Llyr; Than that dark daughter of Leodegrance, The stately Gwenhevar. And old romance Dreamed in the open Bibles of her eyes; Music her motion ; and her speech, soft sighs Of an acknowledged love for love again And in her face no least suggested pain, But hope, high heart, and happiness of life. So Blodeuwedd they named her and as wife- Fair aspect of wild flowers baptized with dew- Gave that next morning to the happy Liew. 155 1i56 POEMS OF NA TURE A YD LO VE. ACCOLON OF GAUL. Prelude. O WISEST legendfrom the storied wells Of lost Baranton ! where old Verlin dwells, Nodding a white poll and a grave, gray beard, As if some Lake Ladi e he, listening, heard, Who spake like water, danced like careful showers With blown gold curls through drifts of wild-thorn flowers; Loose, lazy arms upon her bosom crossed, Float flower-like down a woodland vista, lost With one peculiar note that wrings a tear Slow down his withered cheek. And then steals near A sweet, lascivious brow's white wonderment, Andgray, rude eyes, and hair which hath the scent Of the wildwood Brece'liand 's Perfumes Zn Brittany; and in it one red bloom's Blood-drop thrust deep,- and so " Sweet Viviane!" A11 the glad leaves lisp like a glad spring rain Fromt top to top, until a running surge The dark witch-haunted solitude will urge, A CCOLON OF GA UL. That shakes and sounds and stammers as from sleep Some giant were aroused; and with a leap A sam ile-hazy creature, blossomz-zuhite, Showers mocking kisses down and, like a light Beat by a guist toflutter and then dlone, Fromn lier/in and Brlce'liande she 's gone. But still he sits there drowsing with his dreams, A wondrous comspany; as manyl as gleams That stab the moted mazes of a beech; And eachi grave dream hath its own magic speech To sting his old, sad eyes to tears-and two Hang, tangled brilliants, in his beard like dew. And far-off murmurs of courts brave and fair, Andjforms of Arthur, stately Guenevere, Tall Tristramr and rare Isoud and stout MVark, Bold Launcelot, chaste Ga/ahad the dark Of his weak mind, once strong, glares up with, then,- The instant's fostered blossoms-die again. A roar of tournaments, a rippling stir Of silken lists that ramble in to her, That white, witch-mothered beauty, Viviane, The vast Brecliande and dreams ain. Then Dal-onet, King A rthur's fool, stands there, A wcaggish cunning; glittering on his hair A tinsel crown,; and then will slowly sway Thick leaves and part, and there Morgane the Fay, With haughty wicked eyes and lovely face, Studies him steady for a little space. I 5 7 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. I. ACCOLON. THOU speakest with thy questioning eyes again; Here where the restless forest hears the main Toss in a troubled sleep and moan and beat A pensive passion out that woods repeat. MORGANE. And what wild beauty here ! where roughly run Long forest shadows from the sinking sun, The wood 's a subdued power gentle as The tame wild-things that, in the moss and grass, Gaze with their human eyes. Here grow the lines Of pale-starred green ; and where the fountain shines, Urned in its tremulous ferns, let's rest upon This oak-trunk by the tempest overthrown Years, years agone; not where 't is rotted brown But where the thick bark 's firm and overgrown Of trailing ivy blackly berried ; where Moist musk of wood decay just tincts the air, As if a strange shrub on a whispering way, In some wet dell, while dreaming of one May, In longing languor weakly tried to wake One sometime blossom and could only make Ghosts of such dead aromas as it knew, And shape a spectre, fragrant as thin dew, To haunt these sounding miles of solitude. I53 A CCOLON OF GA UL. ACCOLON. Troubled thou speakest, Mforgane, and the mood, Unfathomed in thine eyes, glows; rash and deep As that in some wild woman's,-found asleep By some lost knight upon a precipice,- Whom he hath wakened with a laughing kiss. As that of some frail elfin lady, light As are the foggy moonbeams; filmy white Who waves diaphanous beauty on a cliff That, drowsing, purrs with moon-drenched pines; but if The lone knight follow, foul fiends rise and drag Him crashing down, while she, tall on the crag, Triumphant, mocks him with glad sorcery Till all the wildwood echoes shout with glee.- As that bewildering mystery of a tarn, A mountain water, which the mornings scorn To anadem with fire and leave gray; To which a champion cometh when the Day Hath tired of breding for the Twilight's head Flame-flurry blooms, and golden-chapleted, Sits rosy, trembling with fierce love for Night, Who cometh sandaled; dark in crape; the light Of her good eyes a marvel; her vast hair Tortuous with stars, -as in a shadowy lair The eyes of hunted wild things burn with rage,- And on her bosom doth his love assuage: He, coming heated to that haunted place, Stoops down to lave his forehead, when his face I59 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Meets gurgling fairy faces in a ring That jostle upward ; babbling, beckoning Him deep to wonders, magic built of old For some dim witch- MORGANE. A city walled with gold, With beryl battlements and paved with pearls, Slim, lambent towers wrought of foamy swirls Of alabaster ; and that witch to love, More beautiful than any queen above !- ACCOLO.N. He pauses troubled ; but a wizard power, In all his bronzen harness, that mad hour Plunges him-whither What if he should miss Those cloudy beauties and that creature's kiss - Ah, Morgane, that same power Accolon Saw potent in thine eyes and it hath drawn Him onward-onward to what breathless fate MORGANE. Bliss. ACCOLON. Yea; too true ! deep have we drank of late But there may come what stealthy-footed death With bony claws to clutch away this breath . . I dreamed last night one culled wild flowers for me, I 6o A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Larger than those of earth ; and I did see Their woolly gold, loose, webby woven through,- Like fluffy flames spun,-gauzy with fine dew: And " Asphodels," I murmured; then, " These sure Are Eden amaranths, so angel pure That love alone may pluck them aye and aye:" When she had given, lo, she passed away Beyond me, on a misty, yearning brook With a sweet song, which all the wild air took With torn farewells and pensive melody Touching to tears, strange, hopeless utterly So merciless sad that I yearned high to tear Those ingot-cored and gold-crowned lilies there Yet over me a horror which restrained With melancholy presence of two pained And awful, God-like eyes that cowed and held Me weeping while that sad dirge died or swelled Far, far on endless waters borne away:- A wild bird's music, smitten when the ray Of dawn it burned for graced its drooping head, And the pale glory strengthened round it--dead; Daggered of thorns it plunged on, blind in night, The slow blood ruby on its breast of white.- And I-I knew the flowers which she had given Were strays of parting grief and waifs of Heaven For tears and memories ; too delicate, For what is Earth's, her love immaculate But then-my God ! my God ! thus I was left, And these were with me who was so bereft. II -I6i A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Oh, rapturous torment of a growing grief, That weighed my soul who saw no near relief. And bowed and wept into his hands; and she Sorrowful beheld ; and resting at her knee Raised slow her oblong lute and smote its chords But ere the impulse saddened into words, Said: " And didst love me as thy lips would prove, No visions wrought of sleep might move thy love. Firm is all Love in firmness of his power, With flame reverberant moated stands his tower; Not so built as to chink from fact a beam Of doubt and much less of a doubt fromn dream Such, the alchemic fire of Love's desires,- That fills its flaming moat,-melts to gold wires To chord the old lyre new whereon he lyres." So ceased ; and then, sad softness in her eye, Sang to his dream a questioning reply: "Will love grow less when dead the roguish Spring, \\Tho from gay eyes sowed violets whispering Peach petals in wild cheeks, wan-wasted through Of withering grief, laid lovely'neath the dew, Whill love grow less "Will love grow less when comes queen Summer tall, Her throat a lily, long and spiritual i62 A CCOL OAT OF GA UL. Rich as the poppied swaths-hushed haunt of bees- Her cheeks, a brown maid's gleaning on the leas, Will love grow less " Will love grow less when Autumn, sighing there, Bends with long frost-streaks in her dark, dark hair Tears in grave eyes as in grave heavens above, Deep lost in memories' melancholy, love, Will love grow less "Will love grow less when Winter at the door Begs, on her thin locks icicles as hoar While Death's eyes, hollow o'er her shoulder, dart A look to wring to tears then freeze the heart, Will love grow less And in her hair wept softly, and her breast Rose and was wet with tears ; like as, distressed, Night steals on Day rain sobbing through her curls.- "Though tears become thee even as priceless pearls, Weep not, oh, weep not ! - Mine no gloom of doubt, But woe for sweet love's death my dream brought out," He said. " Crowned, throned and flame-anointed, he Kings our twin-kingdomed hearts eternally: i63 A CCOL OA" OF GA UL. Love, high in Heaven beginning and to cease No majesty when hearts are laid at peace; But reign supreme, if souls have wrought thus well, A god in Heaven or a god in Hell." So they communed. And there her castle stood With slender towers white above the wood; A forest lodge, in ivy buried, near; And woodland vistas, where faint herds of deer Stalked like soft shadows ; where the roes did run, Mavis and throstle caroled in the sun; And white waves marbled up a singing shore. For it was Gore, TMorgana's realm of Gore, The white enchantress' Castle Chariot, Where she her husband, Urience, forgot. Hurt in that battle where King Arthur strove With the five heathen kings, and, slaying, drove The five before him, Accolon, distraught, To a white castle on his shield was brought,- Wood-belted lawns melodious with birds, Far from the rush of spears and roar of swords,- By twelve dim damsels, tire maids of a queen Stately and dark, who moved as if a sheen Of starlight shone around her; and who came With healing herbs and searched his wounds. A dame, So beautiful in raiment silvery, So white, that she attendant seemed to be i64 A CCOLON OF GA UL. On that high holy Grael, which Arthur hath Sought ever widely by wild wood and patht;- Thus not for him, a worldly one to love, Who loved her even to wonder ; skied above His worship as the moon above the main, That yearneth upward, passionate with pain, And suffereth from weary year to year. She peaceful pitiless with virgin cheer. One night a tempest tossed and beat and lashed The writhing forest and deep thunders dashed Sonorous arms together; and anon, Between the thunder pauses, seas would groan Like some enormous curse a knight hath lured From where it soared to maim it with his sword. And Accolon, in fever, seemed to see The stormy, wide-wrenched night's eternity Yawn hells of golden ghastliness; and sweep Distending foam tempestuous up each steep Of raucous iron ; and nude mermaids sit With tangled hair back-blown, and lightning-lit, Sing wildly; beckoning with naked arms Some hurt barque strangled with the hurrying storm's Resistless exultation. And there came One breaker mounting inward, all aflame With glow-worm green, to boom against the cliff Its thunderous bulk-and there, sucked pale and stiff, Tumbled in eddies up the howling rocks, i65 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. His dead, drawn face ; eyes lidless ; matted locks Oozed close with brine ; hurled upward flabbily To streaming mermaids. Madly seemed to see The vampire echoes of the hoarse wood, who, Collected, sought him: down the casement drew Wet, shuddering, hag-like fingers ; thronging fast Up hooting turrets blew an Elfin blast For madder hunting, and whirled shouting off On to the forest with a screaming scoff. Then, far away, hoofs of a hundred gales, As wave rams wave up windy bluffs of WVales, Loosed from the ancient hills, the cohorts loud, Witches of tempest, clove the driven cloud, And down the rocking night rolled, with the glare Of goblin eyeballs burning; their long hair Blown, black with rain, unkempt from bony brows; Wide mouths of storm that yelled a Hell carouse, Or bulged lean cheeks with wind ; rolled ruining by, Headlong to roaring cliffs, to headlong die. Once when the lightning made the casement glare Squares touched to gold, between it rose her hair, As if a raven's wing had cut the storm Death-driven seaward. And the vague alarm Of her calm coming soothed his mind, as hope, Surmising wings, assays to test their scope. And now she kneeled beside him, beautiful, White-raimented and white; kneeled low,-" to lull i66 A CCOL ON OF GA UrL. 16 All thoughts of night such nights may bring to thee, All such to peace and sleep. "-Ah, God ! to see Her like a living benediction near ! To hear her voice ! her cool hand smoothing here, Wistful, his feverish brow and deep dark curls! To see her rich throat's carcaneted pearls Rise with her breathing ! eyes' pure influence Poured toward him straight as stars, whose sole defence Against all storm is their bold beauty! then To feel her breath and hear her voice again - " Love, mark," he said or dreamed he moaned in dreams, " How bursts the tumult and the thunder gleams !- Nay, Arthur's knights have charged on battle fields Of Huirnber ! fiery spears and fiery shields Have flashed and fall'n ! the five fierce kings are down ! The rush of onset hurls, and night comes on . Love, one eternal tempest thus with thee Were calm, deep calm ! But, no! through thee for me Such calm proves tempest. Speak; I feel thy voice, A hush caressing silence, healing noise." " And thou-thou lov'st my voice fond Accolon Why not-yea, w-thy not-Nay ! I prithee, groan Not for . . . what more hast had loing since thine all "- She smiled; and (lashed down storm's black-crum- bled wall, i67 6 ACCOL ON OF GA UL. Baptizing moonlight bathed her, foot and face Deluging, as his soul turned toward her grace With worship from despair and secret grief And that immortal night to him she said Words, lay he white in death had raised him red. Now rest," she said, "I love thee with much love !- Some speak of secret love, but God above Hath knowledge and divinement. Winds may blow; To lie by thee to-night my mind is ; so,"- She laughed,-" sleep well ! For me, but thy fast word Of knighthood, look thou, and thy naked sword Laid in betwixt us . . . Let it be a wall Strong between love and lust and lov'st me all in all." Undid the goodly gold from her clasped waist Unbound deep locks ; and, like a blossom faced, Stood sweet an unswayed stem that ran to bud In breasts and face a graceful womanhood And fragrance was to her as natural As odor to the rose ; and she a tall White ardor and white fervor in the room Moved, some pale presence that with light doth bloom. And all his eyes and lips and limbs were fire His tongue, delirious, babbled of " desire ; How hers was devil's kindness, which is even -68 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. More than fiend's fury, since the soul sees Heaven, Among eternal torments unforgiven: Temptation harbored, like a bloody rust On a bright blade, leaves ugly stains: how lust Is love's undoing when love's limbs are cast Naked before desire : what love so chaste But this warm nearness of what should be hid Makes it a lawless love -" But thou hast bid. Rest thou. I love thee, love thee as I know And all my love doth battle with love's foe! Then she, as pure as snows of peaks that keep Sun-cloven crowns of virgin-steadfast steep, Frowned on him, and the thoughts, that in his brain Had risen a glare of gems, set dull as rain, As one high look she gave of grief and pain. He, turning, sighed into his hands ; and she Stretched the broad blade's division suddenly. And so they lay its iron between them twain Unsleeping he, for all the brute disdain Of passion in him struggled up and stood A rebel wrangling with the brain and blood. An hour stole by: she slept or seemed to sleep. The winds of night came vigorous from the deep With rain scents of storm-watered field and wold, And breathed of ocean meadows bluely rolled. He drowsed; and time passed stealing as for one Whose easy life dreams in Avilion. I69 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Vast bulks of black, wind-shattered rack went down High casement squares of heaven, a crystal crown Of bubbled moonlight on each giant head, Like as great ghosts of Cornwall kings long dead. And then he thought she lightly laughed and sighed, So soft a taper had not bent aside, And leaned a soft face, seen through loosened hair, Above him, whisp'ring as one speaks in prayer, " Behold, the sword ! I take the sword away ! " It curved and clashed where the strewn rushes lay Shone glassy, glittering like a watery beam Of moonlight in the moonlight. He did deem She moved in sleep and dreamed perverse, nor wist That which she did until two fierce lips kissed His wondering eyes to wakement of her thought. Then said he, " Love, my word ! is it then naught " But now he felt her kisses over and over, And laughter of, " What is thy word, my lover Thy word, if she, to whom thou gavest it, Unbind thee of it lo, and she sees fit " II. N OON; and the wistful Autumn sat among The lurid woodlands; chiefs who now were wrung By crafty ministers, sun, wind and frost, To don imperial pomp at any cost. T70 A CCOLON OF v 0 UL. (' On each wild hill they stood as if for war, Flaunting barbaric raiment wide and far; And burnt-out lusts in aged faces raged; Their tottering state by flattering zephyrs paged, Who in a little fretful while, how soon ! Would work rebellion under some wan moon; Pluck their old beards ; deriding, shriek, and tear Rich royalty ; sow tattered through the air Their purple majesty ; and from each head Dash down its golden crown, and in its stead Set there a pale-death mockery of snow, Leave them bemoaning beggars bowed with woe. Wild blare of horns and snapping of steel bows- A mort ! a mort !-the hunt is up and goes, Beneath the acorn-dropping oaks, in green,- Dark woodland green,-a boar-spear held between His selle and hunter's head, and at his thigh A good broad hanger, and one hand on high To wind the rapid echoes from his horn, That scare the field-birds from the sheaved corn. Away, away they flash, a belted band From Camelot, through that haze-haunted: land Hounds leashed and leamers and a sheen of steel, A tramp of horse and the bell-baying peal Of coupled stag-hounds and-the hart ! the hart, A lordly height, doth from the covert dart And the big blood-hounds bound unto the chase. A hunt ! a hunt ! the pryce seems but a pace On ere 't is wounld. But now, where interlace 171 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. The dense-briered underwoods, the dogs have lost The slot, there where a forest brook hath crossed With intercepting water full of leaves. Beyond, the hart a tangled labyrinth weaves Through dimmer boscage; and the wizard sun Shapes many shadowy stags that seem to run Wild herds before the baffled foresters. And, treed aloft, a reckless laugh one hears, As if some helping goblin of the trees Mocked them the unbayed hart and made a breeze His pursuivant of mocking. Hastening thence, Pursued King Arthur and King Urience, With one small brachet, till scarce hear could they Their fellowship, far distant, ride away. And there the hart plunged bravely through the brake, Leaving a torn path shaking in his wake, Down which they followed on through many a copse, Above whose brush, close on before, the tops Of the stag's antlers swelled anon, and so Were gone where beat the brambles to and fro. And still they drave him hard; and ever near Seemed that great hart unwearied ; and such cheer Still stung them to the chase. 'When Arthur's horse Gasped mightily and, lunging in his course, Lay dead, a lordly bay ; and Urience Reined his gray hunter laboring. And thence 172 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. King Arthur went afoot. When suddenly He was aware of a wide waste of sea, And near the wood the hart upon the sward Bayed, panting unto death and winded hard. And so the king dispatched him and the pryce Wound on his golden hunting-bugle thrice. As if each echo, which that wild horn's blast Roused from its sleep,-the quietude had cast Tender as mercy on it,-in a band Rose moving sounds of gladness hand in hand, Came twelve fair damsels, sunny in sovereign white, From the red woodland gliding. They the knight Graced with obeisance ; and " Our lord," said one, " Tenders you courtesy until the dawn; The Earl Sir Damas. Well in his wide keep, Seen thither with due worship, you shall sleep." And so he came o'erwearied to a hall, An owlet-haunted pile, whose weedy wall Towered based on crags; rough turrets, crowding high,- An old gaunt giant-castle,-'gainst a sky Wherein the moon hung owl-faced, gray and full. Down on dark sea-foundations broke the dull Vast monotone of ocean, and unrolled The windy wilderness that was as old As the defiant headlands, stretching out Into the night, with their voluminous shout Of wreck and wrath forever. Arthur then 173 A CCOLON OF GA UL. Among the gauit Earl's bandits, swarthy men, Ate in the wild hall. Then a damsel led The king with flaring lamp unto his bed Down lonely corridors of that old keep; And soon he rested in a heavy sleep. And then King Arthur woke, and woke 'mid groans Of dolorous knights ; and 'round him lay the bones Of many woful champions mouldering And he could hear the open ocean fling Its booming waves above. And so he thought, " It is some nightmare weighing me, distraught By that long hunt ; "' and then he sought to shake The horror off and to himself awake; But still he heard sad groans and whispering sighs And deep in iron-ribbed cells the eyes Of pale, cadaverous knights shone fixed on him, Unhappy; and he felt his senses swim With foulness of the cell; cried, " What are ye Ghosts of chained champions or a company Of phantoms, bodiless fiends If speak ye can, Speak, in God's name ! for I am here-a man Then groaned the shaggy throat of one who lay A dusky nightmare dying day by day, Yet once of comely mien and strong withal And greatly gracious; but, now hunger-tall, A scrawny ghost with faded hands and cheeks: "Sir knight," said he, " know that the wretch who speaks 17 1 A CCOL OX OF GA UL. Is but an one of twenty knights here shamed By him who lords this castle, Damas named, Who mews us here for slow starvation. Seen Around you, rot the bones of some eighteen Tried knights of Britain. And God grant that soon My hunger-lengthened ghost may see the moon Beyond the famine of this prisonment." With that he sighed, and down the dungeon went A rustling sigh, like saddened sin, and so Another dim, thin voice complained their woe: " He doth enchain us with this common end: That he find one who will his prowess bend To the attainment of this livelihood. A younger brother, Ontzlake, hath he; good And courteous, withal most noble, whom This Damas hates-yea, ever seeks his doom Denying him to their estate all right Save that he holds by main of arms and might. Through puissance hath Ontzlake some fat fields And one right sumptuous manor, where he yields Belated knights all hospitality. Then bold is Ontzlake, Damas cowardly. For Ontzlake would decide by sword and lance, Body to body, this inheritance; But Damas, vile as he is courageless, Must on all guests perforce lay such distress, To fight for him or starve. For you must know That in his country lhe is hated so 175 A CCOL ON OF GA ULt. That no helm here is who will take the fight. Thus fortunes it our plight is such a plight," Quoth he and ceased. And wondering at the tale The king was thoughtful; and each wasted, pale, Poor countenance perused him while he spake: "And what reward if one this cause should take "- "Deliverance for all if of us one Consent to be his party's champion. But treachery and he are so close kin We loathe the part as some misshapen sin And here would rather with the rats find death Than, serving falseness, save and shame our breath. " "May God deliver you in mercy, sirs ! "- And right anon an iron noise he hears Of chains rushed loose and bars jarred rusty back, The heavy gate croak open. And the black Of the rank cell astonished was with light, That danced fantastic with the frantic night. One high torch, sidewise worried by the gust, Sunned that dark den of hunger, death and rust, And one tall damsel vaguely vestured, fair With shadowy hair, poised on the rocky stair. And laughing on the King, "What cheer" said she; God's life, the keep stinks vilely ! And to see These noble knights endungeoned, starving here, Doth pain me sore with pity. But, what cheer " I 76 A CCOL ONV OF GA UL. " Thou mockest us. For me, the sorriest Since I was suckled ; and of any quest To me the most imperiling and strange.- But what wouldst thou " said Arthur. She, " A change I offer thee ; through thee to these with thee, If thou dost promise, in love's courtesy, To fight for Damas and his livelihood. And if thou wilt not-look ! behold this brood Of lean and dwindled bellies, famine-eyed,- Keen knights once,-who refused me. So decide." Then thought the King of the sweet sky, the breeze That blew delicious over waves and trees; Thick fields of grasses and God's sunny earth, Whose beating heat-filled the red heart with mirth, And made the world one sovereign pleasure-house Where king and serf might revel and carouse; Then of the hunt on autumn-plaintive hills Lone forest lodges by the radiant rills His palace at Caerlleon upon Usk, And Camelot's loud halls that through the dusk Blazed far and bloomed a rose of revelry Or in the misty morning shadowy Loomed grave for audience. And then he thought Of his Round Table and the Grael wide sought In haunted holds by many a haunted shore; Then marvered of what wars would rise and roar With dragon heads unconquered and devour This realm of Britain and crush out that flower I2 177 A CCOLON OF GA UL. Of chivalry whence ripened his renown ; And then the reign of some besotted crown, A bandit king of lust, idolatry- And with that thought for tears he could not see. Then of his greatest champions, King Ban's son, And Galahad and Tristram, Accolon; And then, ah God ! of his loved Guenevere And with the thought-to starve 'mid horrors here- For, being unfriend to Arthur and his Court, Well knew he this grim Earl would bless that sport Of fortune which had fortuned him so well To have his King to starve within a cell, In the entombing rock beside the deep.- And all the life shut in his limbs did leap Through eager veins and sinews, fierce and red, Stung on to action, and he rose and said: " That which thou askest is right hard, but, lo To rot here harder. I will fight his foe. But, mark, I have no weapons and no mail, No steed against that other to avail." "Fear not for that; and thou shalt lack none, sire. "- And so she led the w-ay: her torch's fire Scaring wild spidery shadows at each stride From cob-webbed coignes the scowling arches hide. At length they reached an iron-studded door, Which she unlocked with one harsh key she bore 'Mid many keys bunched at her girdle; thence 17 8 A CCOL 02 OF GA (,'L. They issued on a terraced eminence. Beneath, the sea broke sounding; and the King Breathed open air that had the scent and sting Of brine morn-vigored and blue-billowed foam And in the east the second dawning's gloam, Since that unlucky chase, was freaked with streaks Red as the ripe stripes of an apple's cheeks. And so within that larger light of dawn It seemed to Arthur now that he had known This maiden at his court, and so he asked. But she, well tutored, her real person masked, And answered falsely, " Nay, deceive thee not. Thou saw'st me ne'er at Arthur's court, I wot. For here it likes me best to sing and spin And work the hangings olden halls within. No courts or tournaments to so enslave, No knights to flatter me ! For me-the wave, The forest, field and sky; the calm, the storm My garth wherein I walk to think; the charm Of uplands redolent at bounteous noon And full of sunlight ; night's free stars and moon White ships that pass some several every year; These lonesome towers and yon wild mews to hear." " An owlet maid," the King laughed.-But untrue Was she, and of false Morgane's treasonous crew, Who worked strange wiles ev'n to the slaying of The King, half-brother, whom she did not love. And presently she brought him where in state This swarthy Damas'mid mailed cowards sate. I179 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. And Accolon, at Castle Chariot still, Had lost long months in love. Her husband ill, Morgane, perforce, must leave her lover here Among the hills of Gore. A lodge stood near A cascade in the forest, where their wont 'Was to sit listening the falling fount, That, through sweet talks of many idle hours On moss-banks languid with the violet flowers, Had learned a laughing language thus thereof, And wandered ever gently whispering " love": Below the lodge it pooled into a well, And slipping thence through dripping shadows fell From rippling rock to rock. Here Accolon, With Morgane's hollow lute, each studious dawn Came all alone; not ev'n her brindled hound To bound beside him o'er the gleaming ground; No handmaid lovely of his loveliest fair, Or paging dwarf in purple with him there; But this her lute, about which her perfume Clung odorous of memories, that made bloom Her flower-features rosy at his eyes, That saw soft words, his sense could but surmise, Shaped on dim, breathing lips; the laugh that drunk Her deep soul-fire from eyes wherein it sunk And slowly waned away to smouldering dreams, Fathomless with lought, far in their dove-gray gleams. And so for those most serious eyes and lips, Faint, filmy features, all the music slips Of buoyant passion bubbling to his voice I80 A CCOLON OF GA UL. To chant her praises; and with nervous poise His fleet trained fingers call from her long lute Such riotous notes as must make envy-mute The nightingale that listens quivering. And well he knows that winging hence it'll sing These aching notes, whose beauties burn and pain Its anguished heart now sobless, not in vain Beneath her casement in that garden old Dingled with heavy roses; in the gold Of Camelot's stars and pearl-encrusted moon And if it dies, the heartache of the tune Shall clamor stormy farewells at her ear, Of death more dear than life if love be near Melt her quick eyes to tears, her throat to sobs, That vanquish her, while separation throbs Hard at her heart, and longing lifts to Death Two prayerful eyes of pleading, " for one breath - An instant of fierce life-crushed in his arms Close, close! And, oh, for such take thou my charms, Thathave thus lived, to be thine evermore!" And sweet to know that every vow shall soar Ev'n to the dull ear of her drowsy lord Beside her; heart-defiant as each word Harped in the bird's voice rhythmically clear. And thus he sang to her who was not near:- " She comes ! her presence, like a moving song Breathed soft of loveliest lips and lute-sweet tongue, 18r A CCOL O.Nr OF GA UL. Sways all the gurgling forest from its rest I fancy where her rustling foot is pressed, So faltering, love seems timid, but how strong The darling love that flutters in her breast ! "She comes ! and wildwood vistas are stormed through- As if wild wings, wet-varnished with the dew, Had flashed a sudden sunbeam-tempest past, -With her eyes' inspiration, deeply chaste A rhythmic ravishment of bright gray blue, Long arrows of her eyes perfection cast. "0 Love, she comes! 0 Love, I feel thy breath, Like the soft South that idly wandereth Through musical leaves of laughing laziness, Page on before her, how sweet -none can guess! To say my soul, ' Here 's harmony dear as death, To sigh wild vows or, utterless, to bless.' "She comes, 0 Life ! and all thy brain is brave To war for words to laud her and to lave Imperial beauty in such vows whereof Should hush melodious cooings of a dove: For her light feet the favored path to pave With oaths, like roses, raving mad with love. "She comes ! in me a passion-as the moon Works madness in strong men-my blood doth swoon 182 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Unto her glory ; and I feel her soul Cling lip to lip with mine; and now the whole Mix with me, aching like a tender tune Exhausted, lavished in a god's control. "She comes ! ah, God ! ye eager stars that grace The fragmentary skies, that dimple space, Fall, and I hear her harp-sweet footfalls come. Ah, wood-indulging, violet-vague perfume, Art of her presence, of her wild-flower face, That, like some gracious blossom, stains the gloom "Oh, bounding exultation of the blood! That now-as sunbursts, (the almighty mood Of some moved god,) scatter the storm that roars, And hush-her love, like some spent splendor, pours Into with all immaculate maidenhood; And all the heart that hesitates-adores. ''Vanquished, sweet victor and triumphant sweet The height of heaven-supine at thy feet, Where love feasts crowned, and basks, in such a glare As cores of moons burn, in thine eyes and hair, Unutterable with raveled fires that cheat The ardent clay of me and make me air. 183 A CCOL O0V OF GA UL. "And so, rare witch, thy blood, like some lewd wine, Shall subtly make me, like thee, half divine And-sweet rebellion-so defy and urge Thee on to combat with a kiss, nor dirge The war, that rubies all thy proud cheeks' shine With struggling blushes, till white truce emerge. "My life for thine, surrendered lip to lip: A striving being pulsant, that shall slip, Like song and flame, in sense from thee to me: Nor kept, but quick surrendered back to thee; So our two loves live as a singleship, Ten thousand loves as one eternally." III. THE evening came: long shadows cowled the way Like sombre pilgrims who have kneeled to pray Beside a wayside shrine; and, rosy-rolled Up th' amaranthine west, a stormy gold Towered battlements far up the opal skies, Which seemed to open gates of Paradise On rushing hinges of the winds, and blaze God's glory far 'mid melodies of praise. And from the sunset, down the roseate ways, To Accolon, who with his idle lute, Reclined in revery against the root Of a great oak, a fragment of the west, A dwarf, in crimson satin tightly dressed, 184 A CCOL ON OF GAUL. Skipped like a leaf the rather frosts have burned And cozened to a fever red, that turned And withered all its sap. And this one camne From Camelot; from his beloved dame, Morgane the Fay. He on his shoulder bore A burning blade wrought strange with wizard lore Of mystic runes; within a scabbard, which Glared venomous, with angry jewels rich. He, louting to the knight, " Sir knight," said he, " Your lady with all sweetest courtesy Assures you-ah, unworthy messenger I of such beauty !-of that love of her." Then doffing the great baldric, with the sword To him he gave: " And this from him, my lord King Arthur; even his Excalibur, The Elfin blade which Merlin gat of her, The Ladye of the Lake, who Launcelot Fostered from infanthood, as well you wot, In some weird mere in Briogne's tangled lands Of charms and mist; where filmy fairy bands By lazy moons of autumn spin their fill Of giddy morrice on the frosty hill. By goodness of her favor this is sent, Who craved King Arthur boon with this intent: That soon for her a desperate combat, one 'Gainst one of mightier prowess, were begun And with the sword Excalibur right sure Were she against that champion to endure.- The blade is trenchant, but guard thou the sheath, Which, belting, saves the wearer from all death." 185 ACCOL ON OF GA UL. He said: and Accolon looked on the sword, A fiery falchion ; said, " It shall go hard With him through thee, unconquerable blade, Who e'er he be, who on my Queen hath laid Insult or injury: and hours as slow As palsied hours in Purgatory go For those unmassed, till I have slain this foe !- Thy guerdon, page.-And now, to her who gave, Dispatch! and this: To all commands-her slave, To death obedient. In love or war Her love to make me all the warrior. Plead her grace mercy for so long delay From love that dies an hourly death each day Till her white hands kissed he shall kiss her face, By which his life breathes in continual grace." Thus he commanded. And incontinent The dwarf departed like a red shaft sent From cloudsin uniforms of scarlet light Ranked o'er long, purple glooms. And with the night, Whose votaress cypress stoled the dying strife Softly of day, and for whose perished life Gave heaven her golden stars, in dreamy thought Wends Accolon to Castle Chariot. . . And it befell that, wandering one dawn, As was his wont, across a dew-drenched lawn, Glad with night freshness and elastic health In sky and earth, that lavished worlds of wealth i86 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. From heady winds and racy scents,-a knight And lofty lady met him; gay bedight, With following of six esquires ; and they Held on straight wrists the jess'd gerfalcon gray, And rode a-hawking o'er the leas of Gore From Ontzlake's manor, where he languished ; sore Hurt in the lists, a spear wound in his thigh Who had besought-for much he feared to die- This knight and his fair lady, as they rode To hawk near Chariot, Morgane's abode, That they would beg her in all charity To come to him, (for in chirurgery Of all that land she was the greatest leach,) And her for his recovery beseech. So, Accolon saluted, they drew rein, And spake their message,-for right overfain Were they toward their sport,-that he might bear Petition to that lady. But, not there Was Arthur's sister, as they well must wot But now a se'nnight lay at Camelot The guest of Guenevere ; and with her there Four other queens of farther Britain were Isoud of Ireland, she of Cornwall Queen, King Mark's wife,-who right rarely then was seen At Court for jealousy of Mark, who knew Her to that lance of Lyonesse how true Since mutual quaffing of a philter; while How guilty Guenevere on such could smile:- She of Northgales and she of Eastland; and 187 X CCOL ON OF GA UL. She of the Out Isles Queen. A fairer band For sovereignty and love and loveliness Was not in any realm to grace and bless. Then quoth the knight, " Ay see how fortune turns And varies like an April day, that burns Now welkins blue with calm, now scowls them down, Revengeful, with a black storm's wrinkled frown. For, look, this Damas, who so long hath lain A hiding vermin, fearful of all pain, Dark in his bandit towers by the deep, Wakes from a five years' torpor and a sleep, And sends dispatch a courier to my lord With, 'Lo ! behold ! to-morrow with the sword Earl Damas by his knight, at point of lance, Decides the issue of inheritance, Body to body, or by champion.' Right hard to find such ere to-morrow dawn. Though sore bestead lies Ontzlake, and he could, Right fain were he to save this livelihood." Then thought Sir Accolon: " Th' adventure goes Even as Morgane hath messengered. Who knows But what this battle is for her dear sake" Then said to those: " His quarrel I will take,- If he be so conditioned, harried of Estate and life,-in knighthood and for love. Conduct me thither." With gramercies then Mounted a void horse of that wondering train, I 88 AI CCOL02V OF GA UL. And thence departed with two squires. And they Came to a lone, dismantled priory Hard by a castle on whose square gray towers, Machicolated, o'er the forest's bowers, The immemorial morning bloomed and blushed: A woodland manor, old and deep-embushed In wild and woody hills. And then one wound An echoing horn, and with the savage sound The drawbridge rumbled moatward, clanking, and Into a paved court passed the little band . . When all the world was morning, gleam and glare Of far deluging glory, and the air Sang with the wood-bird, like a silver lyre Swept swift of minstrel fingers, wire on wire, Ere that fixed hour of prime, came Arthur armed For battle royally. A black steed warmed A keen impatience 'neath him ; huge in mail Of foreign make; accoutred head and tail In costly sendal; rearward wine-dark red, Amber as sunlight to his fretful head. Blue armor of knit links had Arthur on, Beneath a robe of honor made of drawn, Ribbed satin, diapered and purflewed deep With lordly golden purple; whence did sweep Two hanging acorn-bangles of fine gold; And at his thigh a falchion, long and bold And triple-edged; its rune-stamped scabbard, of Red leather, a rich baldric held above Of new cut deer-skin ; this, laborious wrought I89 A CCOL ON OP GA UL. And curiously, with slides of gold was fraught, And buckled with a buckle white that shone, Bone of the seahorse, tongued with jet-black bone And, sapphire-set, a burgonet of gold Whereon a wyvern sprawled, whose wide throat rolled A flame-red tongue of agate, and whose eyes Glowed venomous, rich rubies of great prize: And in his hand a wiry lance of ash, Lattened with finest silver, like a flash Of sunlight, made an ever-twinkling gash. A squire attended; a tall youth whose head Waved jaunty with close curls, whereon a red Long-feathered cap was; 'neath which eyes, as keen As a wild-hawk's, and auburn beard were seen His legs in hose of rarest Totness clad And parti-colored leather shoes he had, Gold-latched; and in his hand a bannered spear, Speckled and bronzen, sharpened in the air. So with his following, while lay like scars The blue mist thin along the woodland bars, Through dew and fog, through shadow and through ray, Joustward Earl Damas led the forest way. Then to King Arthur, when arrived were these Where lofty lists shone silken through the trees, Bannered and draped, a wimpled damsel came, Secret, upon a palfrey all aflame Igo A CCOL ON OF GA UL. 'With sweat and heat of hurry, and, " From her, Your sister Morgane, your Excalibur, WYith tender greeting. For you well may need Him in this strange adventure. So God speed!" Said and departed suddenly: nor knew The King but this his weapon tried and true: But brittle this and fashioned like thereof, And false of baser metal,-in unlove And treason to his life,-from her of kin Half sister, who thought sure that she would win. Then heralded into the lists he rode. Opposed flashed Accolon, whose strength bestrode, Exultant, proud in talisman of that sword, A dun horse lofty as a haughty lord, Pure white about each small, impatient hoof: And knight and steed shone clad in arms of proof Of yellow-dappled, variegated plate Of Spanish laton. And of sovereign state His surcoat robe of honor, white and black, Of satin, red-silk needled front and back Then crimson bordered: and above this robe His two-edged sword,-a throbbing golden globe Of vicious jewels,-thrust its splendid hilt; Its broad belt, tawny and with goldwork gilt, Clasped with the eyelid of a black sea-horse Whose tongue was rosy gold. And stern as Force His visored helmet burned like fire, of rich And bronzen laton hammered ; and on which An hundred crystals glittered, thick as on I91[ 9 ACCOL ON OF GA UL. A silver web bright-studding dews of dawn The casque's tall crest a taloned griffin ramped, In whose horned head one virtuous gem was stamped. An ashen spear, round-shafted, overlaid With azure silver, whereon colors played, Firm in his iron gauntlet lithely swayed. intense on either side an instant stood Glittering as serpents that, with spring renewed, In glossy scales meet on a grassy way, Advance with angry tongues at poisonous play. Then clanged a herald's clarion, and sharp heels, Harsh-thrust, each champion's springing courser feels Spur to red onset. The adventured spears Flashed, like swift-sunbursts of a storm when clears The adverse thunder ; and in middle course Shrieked shrill the unpierced shields ; mailed horse from horse Lashed madly pawing-and a hoarse roar rang From tossing lists, till the wild echoes rang Of league on league of forest and of cliff. Rigid the champions rode where, standing stiff, Their squires tendered them the spears they held Nor stayed to breathe ; but, scarcely firmly selled, Rushed fiery forward shield to savage shield Opposing crest to crest ; the wyvern reeled Toward the towering griffin; scorn and scath Glaring undaunted in the rocking wrath 192 A CCOLON OF GA UTL . Of balls of jeweled eyes, they raged and stood, Slim, slippery symbols, in the sun like blood. The lance of Accolon, as on a rock The storm-launched foam breaks baffled, with the shock On Arthur's sounding shield burst splintered force But him resistless Arthur's, -high from horse Uplifted,-headlong bare, and crashed him down, A long sword's length unsaddled. Accolon For one stunned moment lay. Then rising drew The great sword at his hip that shone like dew Sun-brushed with morn. " Descend," he stiffly said, "To proof of better weapons, head for head! Enough of spears; to swords !" And so the knight Addressed him to the King. Dismounting, white His moon-bright brand the King unsheathed ; and high Each covering shield gleamed slanting to the sky, Relentless, strong and stubborn; underneath Their wary shelters foined the glittering death That fenced and thrust ; one tortoise shield de- scends; A fierce blade leaps,-shrill as a flame that sends A long fang heavenward, or a battle word,- Swings hard and trenchant and, resounding heard, Burns surly helmward full; again each sword Bounds to a brother blow to crash again Blade on brave blade. And o'er the battered plain, 13 I 93 '4 CCOL OX OF GA UL. Over and over, blade on baleful blade; Teeth clenched ; behind hot visors eyes that made A cavernous;, smouldering fury ; shield at shield, Unflinchingly remained and scorned to yield. And Arthur drew aside to rest upon His falchion for a space. But Accolon As yet, through virtue of that magic sheath Fresh and almighty, being no nearer death Through loss of blood than when the trial begun, Chafed with delay. Put Arthur with the sun, His heavy mail, the loss from wounds of blood, Leaned over weary and so resting stood ; When Accolon cried sneering, " Dost thou rest, 0 woman " and hard on King Arthur pressed " Defend thee ! yield thee ! or die recreant !" Full on his helm a hewing blow did plant, That beat a flying fire from the steel. Stunned, like one drunk with wine, the king did reel Breath, brain-bewildered. Then, infuriate, Nerve-stung with vigor by that blow, in hate Gnarled all his strength into one blow of might, And in both fists the huge blade knotted tight And swung, terrific with the coming stroke,- As some swift light that hurls the riven oak,- Boomed on the beaten burgonet he wore Hacked through and through the crest, and cleanly shore The golden boasting of its griffin, fierce With 1hollow clamor, down astounded ears. I94 A CCOL OV OF GAU. ' No further thence-but shattered to the grass, That brittle blade, crushed as if made of glass, Into hot pieces like a broken ray Burst sunward and in feverish fragments lay. Then groaned the King unarmed. And then he knew This no Excalibur, so tried and true, And perfect tempered, runed and mystical He sobbed, " Mlorgane betrays me ! "-for withal Him seemed this foe, who fought with so much stress, So long untiring, and with no distress Of wounds or heat, through treachery bare his brand; And then he knew it by the hilt his hand Clutched for an avenging stroke. For Accolon In madness urged the belted battle on His King defenseless ; who, the hilted cross Of that false weapon grasped, beneath the boss Of his deep-dented shield crouched ; and around Crawled the unequal conflict o'er the ground, Sharded with shattered spears and blow-hewn bits Of shivered steel and gold that burnt in fits. So hunted, yet defiant, cowering Beneath his shield's defence, the dauntless king Persisted stoutly. And, devising still How to secure his sword and by what skill, Him thus it fortuned when most desperate: In that close chase they came where, shattered late, Lay tossed the truncheon of a bursten lance, T95 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Which, deftly seized, to Accolon's advance He wielded valorous. Against the fist Smote where the gauntlet husked the nervous wrist, Which strained the weapon for a wrathful blow Palsied, the tightened sinews of his foe Loosened from effort, and the falchion seized Easy was yielded. Then the wroth king squeezed, -Hurling the moon-disk of his shield afar,- Him in both knotted arms of wiry war, Rocked sidewise twice and thrice ;-as one hath seen A stern wind take an ash-tree, roaring green, Nodding its sappy bulk of trunk and boughs To dizziness, from tough, coiled roots carouse Its long height thundering ;-King Arthur shook Sir Accolon and headlong flung. Then took, Tearing away, that scabbard from his side, Flung through the breathless lists, that far and wide Gulped in the battle voiceless. Then right wroth Secured Excalibur, and grasped of both Wild hands swung glittering and brought bitter down On rising Accolon. Steel, bone and brawn The blow hewed through. Unsettled every sense, Bathed in a world of blood, his limbs lay tense And writhen, then ungathered limp with death. Bent o'er him Arthur, from the brow beneath Unlaced the helm and opened and then asked, When the fair forehead's hair curled dark un- casqued: i96 A CCOLON OF GA CUL. " Say, ere thou diest, whence and what thou art !- What king, what court is thine And from what part Of Britain dost thou come Speak !-Yea, me- thinks I have beheld thee-where Before death drinks The soul-light from life's cups, thine eyes thou art- What art thou, speak!" He answered, laboring short With tortured breathing: ' I -one Accolon Of Gaul-a knight of Arthur's court-at dawn- God knows what I am now for love so slain!" Then bent King Arthur nearer and again Drew back ; dim anguish in his manner, sighed: " One of my own! one of my own! the pride Of all my Table ! "-Then asked softly, " Say, Whose sword is this thou hadst, or in what way Thou cam'st by it " But, wandering, that knight Heard with dull ears, divining but by sight What had been asked, exclaimed, " Woe worth the sword ! -From love, thou hearest ! yea, from love yet lord !- From Morgane! lovely Morgane, who had made Me strong o'er kings an hundred ; to have swayed Britain ! hadst thou not risen like a fate To make the world miscarry out of hate- A king !-dost hear-a gold and blood crowned king 197 A CCOL ONT OF GA UL. With Arthur's sister-queen !-No bird can awing Higher than her ambition, that resolved King Arthur's death was needed ; and devolved Plots that should prosper when the year grew sear, Some liberal morning, like an almoner, Prodigal of silver to the begging air; Some turbulent eve, that in heaven's turquoise rolled Convulsive glories deep in fiery gold Some night-the forest and the vasty night Of summer stars-the king-the forest fight.- Nay ! a crowned curse and crimeful clad she came To me; no woman, but a thing of flarme, That laughed on me with harlot lips that nursed Death in wild kisses and the worm that cursed My soul forever ! For, behind her youth, She shrivels to a hag !-O vile untruth !- Harlot !-nay, spouse of Urience, King of Gore !- Sweet wanton !-nay, sweet death ! thou art not poor In that thou hast thy dream, though love may grieve That death so ruins it !-Thou dost perceive How my soul hates thee !-Witness bear this field How my soul loves thee !-What! and will it yield - Enough ! enough ! so hale me hence to die !" Then anger in the good king's gloomy eye Burnt, instant-embered, as one oft may see I98 ACCOLON OF GAU1L. A star leak out of heaven and cease to be. Slow from his visage he his visor raised, And on the dying one mute moment gazed, Then grimly said, " Look on me ! Accolon, I am that king ! f- He, with an awful groan, Blade-battered as he was, beheld and knew; Strained to his tottering knees and haggard drew Up full his armored height and hoarsely cried The king!" and at his mailed feet clashed and died. Then came a world of anxious faces, pressed About King Arthur ; who, though sore distressed, Bespake that multitude: " While breath and power Remain, judge we these brothers : This harsh hour Hath yielded Damas all this rich estate;- So it is his-allotted him by fate And might of arms. So let it be to him. For, stood our oath on knighthood not so slim But that it hath this strong conclusion. This much by us as errant knight is done.- Now our decree as King of Britain, hear: We do adjudge Earl Damas banned fore'er, Outlawed and exiled from all shores and isles Of farthest Britain in its many miles. One month be his, no more ! then will we come Even with an iron host to seal his doom If he be not departed over seas, Hang naked from his battlements t' appease The wild hawks and of carrion-crows the craws. I99 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Yea, we have said. . . . But all our favor draws Toward Sir Ontzlake, whom it likes the king To take into his knightly following. He shall attend us homeward. Ye have heard.- But I am very weary. Take my sword- Unharness me ; for, battle-worn, I tire; And all my wounds are so much aching fire. So, help me hence. To-morrow we would fain To Glastonbury and with us the slain." So bare they then the wounded king away, The dead behind, as closed the autumn day. But when within that abbey he grew strong, The king, remembering the marauder wrong Which Damas had inflicted on the land, Commanded Lionell, with a staunch band, To stamp this weed out if still rooted there. He, riding thither to that robber lair, Led Arthur's hopefulest helms, when, thorn on thorn Reddened an hundred spears, one winter morn. Built up, a bulk of bastioned rock on rock, Vast battlements, that loomed above the shock Of fighting foam that climbed with tearing hands, Found cloudy-clustered turrets, in loud lands Set desolate-mournful over frozen flats,- Lone, hollow towers the haunt of owls and bats. 200 A CCOL ONr OF GA UL. IV. ENVIOUS and jealous of that high renown King Arthur had acquired for his crown, Morgane rejoiced.-Knowing, though mightier Than Accolon, without Excalibur, Arthur, a stingless hornet, in the joust Were less than dangerous. Confident, her trust Smiled certain of conclusion ; eloquent, Within her, whispered of success, that lent Her heart a lofty hope; and at large eyes Piled up imperial dreams of power and prize. And in her carven chamber, oaken-dark, Traceried and arrased, o'er the barren park That dripped with autumn,-for November lay Swathed frostily in fog on every spray,- Sate at her tri-arched casement, one wild night, Ere yet came courier from that test of might Her lord in slumber and the castle dull With silence or of sad wind-music full:- " Another monarch rises-Accolon !- Love, Love with state more ermined ; balmy son Of gods not men, and nobler hence to rule. Sweet Love almighty, terrible to school Harsh hearts to gentleness.-Then all this realm's Iron-husked flower of war, which overwhelms With rust and havoc, shall explode and bloom An asphodel of peace with joy's perfume. And then, 0 Launcelots and Tristrams, vowed 201 0 ACCOL ON OF GA UL. To Gueneveres and Isouds,-now allowed No pleasures but what wary, stolen hours In golden places have their flaming flowers,- Ye shall have feasts of passion evermore ! Poor, out-thrust Love, now shivering at the door, No longer, sweet neglected ! art thrust off, Insulted and derided: nor the scoff Of bully Power, whose heart of insult flings Off for the roar of arms the appeal that clings And lifts a tearful, prayerful, pitiful face Up from his brutal feet: this shrine where grace Lays woman's life for suffering sacrifice- To him how little! but of what pure price! Her all, being all her all for love ! her soul, Life, honor, earth and firmamental whole Of God's glad universe : stars, moon and sun Creation, death; life ended, life begun. And if by fleshly love all Heaven 's debarred, Its sinuous, revolving spheres instarred, Then Hell were Heaven with love to those who knew Love which God's Heaven encouraged while it grew. ' But this lank Urience who is my lord - Why should I worry for, hath he no sword No dangerous dagger I, hid softly here, Sharp as an adder's fang or for that ear No instant poison which insinuates, Tightens quick pulses while the breath abates " Thus had she then determined; and the night 202 A CCOL ON OF GAUL. Sobbed on the towers, with no haggard, white And watery moonbeam on the streaming pane, But on the leads the soft, incessant rain, A lamentable wind that wailed among The turrets like a flying phantom throng.- So grew her face severe as skies that take Dark forces of some tragic storm and shake With murmurous wrath black hills, and stab with fire A pine the moaning forest mourns as sire So touched her countenance that dark intent. And to still eyes stern thoughts a passion sent As midnight waters, luminous with deep Suggestive worlds, glass austere stars in sleep, Vague, ghostly gray locked in their hollow gloom. Then as if some vast wind had swept the room, Silent, intense, had raised her from her seat Of dim, great arms had made her a retreat, Secret as thought to move in like a ghost, Noiseless as death and subtle as the frost, Poised like a light and borne as carefully, She trod the gusty hall where shadowy The hangings rolled a dim Pendragon war. And there the mail of Urience lay. A star, Glimmering above, a dying cresset dropped From the stone vault and flared. And here she stopped And took the sword bright-burnished by his page And ruddy as a flame with restless rage; 203 a CCOL ON OF GA UL. For she had thought that, when they found him dead, His sword laid by him on the bloody bed Would be convictive that his own hand had Done him this violence while fever-mad. The sword she took; and to the chamber, where Her husband slept, she glided; like an air Twined in seductive sendal ; or a fit Of faery song a wicked charm in it, An incantation from the lips of death. She paused beside his threshold ; for a breath Listened ; and, sure he slept, stole in and stood Dim by his couch. About her heart the blood Caught strangling, then throbbed thudding fever up To her broad eyes, like wine whirled in a cup. Then came rare Recollection, with a mouth Sweet as the honeyed sunbeams of the South Trickling through perplexed ripples of the leaves To whose faint form a veil of starshine cleaves Intricate gauze from memoried eyes to feet- Feet sandaled with the sifted snows and fleet To come and go and airy anxiously. She, trembling to her, like a flower a bee Nests in and makes an audible mouth of musk, Dripping a downy language in the dusk, Laid lips to ears and luted memories of Now hated Urience:-Her maiden love, That left Caerlleon willingly for Gore One dazzling day of autumn. How a boar, 204 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Wild as the wonder of the blazing wood, Raged at her from a cavernous solitude, That, crimson-creepered, yawned the bristling cu rse Murderous upon her. How her steed grew worse And, terrified, fled snorting down the dell Pursued with fear, and flung her from the selle, Unhurt, upon a bank of springy moss, That couched her swooning. In an utter loss Of mind and limbs she only knew 't was thus- As one who pants beneath an incubus:- The boar thrust towards her a tusked snout and fanged Of hideous bristles, and the whole wood clanged And buzzed and boomed an hundred sounds and lights Lawless about her brain, like leaves wild nights Of hurricane harvest shouting. Then she knew A fury thundered 'twixt them-and fleet flew Rich-rooted moss and sandy loam that held Dark-buried shadows of the wild, and swelled Continual echoes with the thud of strife, And breath of man and brute that warred for life And all the air, made mad with foam and forms, Spun froth and, 'twixt her, wrestled hair and arms, While trampled caked the stricken leaves or, shred, Hummed whirling, and snapped brittled branches dead. And when she rose and leaned her throbbing head, With all its uncoifed rays of raven hair 20 A CCOLON OF GA UL. Disheveling shoulders pure and faultless fair, On one milk, marvelous arm of fluid grace, Beheld the brute thing throttled and the face Of angry Urience over, browed like might, One red swol'n arm, that pinned the hairy fright, Strong as a god's, iron at the gullet's brawn Dug in its midriff, the close knees updrawn Wedged deep the glutton sides that quaked and strov e A shaggy bulk, whose sharp hoofs drove and drove. Thus man and brute strained bent ; when Urience slipped One arm, the horror's tearing tusks had ripped And ribboned redly, to the dagger's hilt, Which at his hip hung long a haft gold-gilt; Its rapid splinter drew; beamed twice and thrice High in the sun and, ghastly white as ice, Plunged-and the great boar stretched in sullen death Lay, in its harsh gorge bubbling blood and breath. And how he brought her water from a well,- A rustling freshness,-near them where it fell From a moss-mantled rock, caught in his casque, For her to drink; then bathed her brow, a task That had accompanying tears of joy and vows Of love, sweet intercourse of eyes and browis, And many clinging kisses eloquent. And how, his wound dressed, she behind him bent And clasped him on the same steed, and they went 206 A CCOL OAT OF GA UL. On through the gold wood toward the golden west, Till on one low hill's forest-covered crest Up in the gold his castle's battlements pressed. And then she felt she 'd loved him till had come Fame of the love of Isoud, whom, from home, Tristram had brought across the Irish foam ; And Guenevere's for Launcelot of the Lake: From these how her desire seemed to wake, Longing for some great hero who would slake- And such found Accolon. And then she thought How far she 'd fallen and how darkly fraught 'With consequence was this. Then what distress Were hers and his-her lover's, and success HI-ow doubly difficult if, Arthur slain, King Urience lived to assert his right to reign. So she stood pondering with the sword ; her lips Breathless and close, as her cold finger-tips About the weapon's hilt. And so she sighed, "Nay ! long, too long hast lived who shouldst have died Even in the womb abortive ' who these years Hast leashed my life to care with stinging tears, A knot thus harshly severed !-As thou art Into the elements naked ! " O'er his heart The long blade paused and-then descended hard. 207 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Unfleshed, she laid it by her murdered lord; And the dark blood spread broader through the sheet And dripped a horror at impassive feet, And blurred the polished oak. But lofty she Stood proud, relentless ; in her ecstasy A lovely devil ; a crowned lust that cried On Accolon ; the rebel that defied Control in all her senses ; clamorous as Steep storm that down a cavernous mountain pass Blasphemes an hundred echoes; with like power The inner wanton called its paramour; Him whom, King Arthur had commanded, when Borne from the lists, she should receive again As his blithe gift and welcome from the joust, For treacherous love and her more treacherous lust. And while she stood revolving if her deed's Secret were safe, behold ! a grind of steeds, Arms and loud voices of fierce men that cursed Coarse in the northern court. To her athirst For him her lover, war and power it spoke, Him victor and so king. And then awoke A yearning to behold him ; and she fled Like some wild specter down wide stairs, and red Burst on a glare of links and glittering mail, That shrunk her eyes and made her senses quail. To her a bulk of iron, bearded fierce, Down from a steaming steed into her ears, This from the King, 0 Queen ! ' laughed harsh and hoarse: 208 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Two henchmen beckoned, who pitched sheer with force, Dull clanging at her feet, hacked, hewn, and red, Crusted with blood, a knight in armor-dead; Her Accolon, flung with the mocking scoff "This from the King ! "-phantoms in fog rode off. And what remains-From Camelot to Gore That night she weeping fled: thence to the shore,- As that romancer tells,-Avilion, Where she hath majesty gold-crowned and wan In darkest cypress a frail, piteous face Queenly and lovely: 'round sad eyes the trace Of immemorial tears as for some crime: Eyes future-fixed, expectant of the time When the forgiving Arthur cometh and Shall have to rule all that lost golden land, That drifts vague amber in forgotten seas Of surgeless turquoise drowned in mysteries.- Morgana, Queen of the gray Nevermore, WVho with crowned shadows out of Cornwall bore The wounded Arthur from that last fought fight Of Camlan in a black barge into night. She who came wailing with a stately band Of serge-stoled maidens from some far-off land Of autumn-glimmer; when were sharply strewn The red leaves, and, broad o'er the hills, a moon Swung full of frost a lustrous globe of gleams, Faint on the mooning waves as shapes in dreams. 14 209 A CCOLON OF GA UL. Fpilogzie. F OR the mountains' hoarse greeting came hollow Fromz stormy wind-chasms and caves; And I heard their wild cataracts wallow White bulks in long spasms of waves; And Merlin said, " Lo ! you must follow! And our path is o'er thousands of graves." Then I felt that the black earth was Jorous And rotten with dust and with bones; A nd I knew that the ground that now bore us Was cadaverous with death as zwilh stones ; And I sanw burning eyes, heard sonorous A nd dolorouis gnashings and groans. But the night of the tempest and thunder, The might of the terrible skies, And the fire of Hell, that,-coiled under The hollow Earth,-smioulders and sih s, And the laughter of stars and their wond-er, MAingled and mnixed in his eYes. And wve clomi b-and the moon, old and sterile, -Clozb with us o'er torrent and scar. A nid Iyearned towards her oceans of beryl, Wan mountains and cities of spar: 'T is not well," then he said, " you 're in peril Of falling and failing your star." 210 A CCOL 0X OF GA UL. Anzd we clom b-till we stood at the portal Of the uttermost point of the peak; And he led with a step more than mortal Far upward somne presence to seek; And Ifelt that this love was immortal, This love, which had made me so zweak. We had cloamb till the limbo of spirits Of darkness and crime deep belowz Swung nebular; nor could we hear its Iost w7oailinlg and clamor of woe,- For woe sh'od in a realm that inherits A vanquishing- 'vinioz of snowl. THE EN D. 21 1