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Accolon of Gaul : with other poems / by Madison J. Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-187-30608339 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. Accolon of Gaul : with other poems / by Madison J. Cawein. Cawein, Madison Julius, 1865-1914. J.P. Morton, Louisville [Ky.] : 1889. viii, 164 p. ; 22 cm. Coleman Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1994. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN04381.11 KUK) Printing Master B92-187. 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. P\GGOLON 0f /NUL WITH OTHER POEMS. By MADISON J. CAWEIN. LOUISVILLE. JOHN P. MORTON COMPANY. 1889 COPYRIGHTED BY MADISON J. CAWEIN. 1889 With all mu leat TO LILIAN AND ROSE. . _1--oi- f S+ CONTENTS. Accolon of Gaul, . Der Freischutz, To Revery,. Late October . An Anemone, . The Rain-Crow,. Loveliness. The Last Scion of the Hou. On the Jellico-Spur, . Sefiorita . Leander to Hero,. Musagetes, The Quarrel. The Mood o' the Earth, A Gray Day, Carmen. Disenchantment of Death,. The Three Urgandas, The Brush Sparrow, . ....... . . . .... 6 5 82 ..... ....... 85 ....... . . . . ...... 88 ...... . . . . .. go90 92 of Clare, .95 ... . . . .. 105 ... . . . .. III .... . . . I.I3 ... . . i. i18 .... . . . .I 1 .1... . . . I22 .1... . . . I25 .1... . . . I28 ... . . . .. 131 ... . . I35 se viii CONTENTS. CHORDS- I. Sleep while I sing to thee. . . . . . 138 II. Floats a wild chant of morning, . . . . 139 III. When love delays,. . . . . . . . . 14I IV. Thous hast not loved her, I43 V. 0 Life,. . . . . . . . . . . . . 144 VI. If th:u wouldst know the Beautiful, . . . 148 VII. Then up tCe Orient heights, ... VIII. Vanishing Visions. . . . . . . . . 152 IX. As to a Nymph . . . . . . . . . . I54 X. Ah! now ihe orchard's leaves are sear, . 157 Dead and Gone, 158 A Mabinogi. . . . . . . . . . . . 159 Genius Loci. . . . . . . I. . . . . . 62 ACCOLON OF GAUL. IitA trith mphs la:' o/ old r'mance'.-1K F.v\ . PRELUDE. rTHY, dreams from dreams in dreams renmembered! Yiv 'naugh-t S ix e this, alas ! that once it seemed I thought I wandered dim w'ith someone, but I knew Not who ; most beautiful and good and true, Yet sad through suffering; with curl-crowned brow, Soft eyes and voice ; so white she haunts me now:- And when, and wxhere -At night in dreamtland. She Led me athwart a flower-showered lea Where trammeled puckered pansy and the pea; Spread stains of pale-red poppies rinced of rain, So gorged with sun their hurt hearts aclhcd with pain 1-leaped honeysuckles ; roses lavishing beams, Wherein I knexv were huddled little dreams WVhich laughed coy, hidden merriment and there Blew quick gay kisses fragrancing the air. 2 ACCOLOS' OF GAUL. And where a river bubbled through the sward A mist lay sleeply; and it was hard To see whence sorung it, to what seas it led, How broadly spread and what it was it fled So ceasless in its sighs, and bickering on Into romance or some bewildering dawn Of wisest legend from the storied wells Of lost Paranton, where old Merlin dwells, Nodding a white poll and a grand, gray beard As if some, Lake Lady6 he, listening, heard, Who spake like water, danced like careful showers With blown gold curls thro' drifts of wild-thorn flowers; Loose, lazy arms in graceful movement tossed, Float flower-like down a woodland vista, lost In some peculia.- note that wrings a tear Slow down his withered cheek. And then steals near Her sweet, ascivious brow's white wonderment, And gray rude cyes, and hair which hath the scent Of the wildwood Brceliand's perfumes In Brittany; and in it one red bloom's Blood-drop thrust deep, and so " Sweet Viviane !" All the glad leav s lisp like a young, soft rain From top to top, until a running surge The dark, witch-haunted solitude will urge, That shakes and sounds and stammers as from sleep Some giant were aroused; and with a leap ACCOLON OF GAUL. A samite-gauzy creature, glossy white, Showers mocking kisses fast and, like a light Beat by a gust to flutter and then done, From Brceliande and Merlin she is gone. But still he sits there drowsing with his dreams; A wondrous cohort hath he; many as gleams That stab the moted mazes of a beech; And each grave dream hath its own magic speech To sting to tears his old eyes heavy-two Hang, tangled brilliants, in his beard like dew: And still faint murmurs of courts brave and fair, And forms of Arthur and proud Guenevere, Grave Tristram and rare Isoud and stout Mark, Bold Launcelot, chaste Galahad the dark Of his weak mind, once strong, glares up with, then, -The instant's fostered blossoms- die again. A roar of tournament, a rippling stir Of silken lists that ramble into her, That white witch-mothered beauty, Viviane, The vast Br6celiande and dreams again. Then Dagonet, King Arthur's fool, trips there, A waggish cunning; glittering on his hair A tinsel crown; and then will slightly sway Thick leaves and part, and there Morgane the Fay With haughty wicked eyes and lovely face Studies him steady for a little space. 3 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. I. ''i THOU aske-it with thy studious eyes again, I Here where the restless forest hears the main Toss in a troubled sleep and moan. Ah, sweet, With joy and passion the kind hour's replete; And what wild beauty here! where roughly run Huge forest shadows from the westering sun, The wood's a subdued power gentle as Yon tame wild-things, that in the moss and grass Gaze with tLeir himan eyes. Here grow the lines Of pale-starred green; and where yon fountain shines Urned in its tremulous ferns, rest we upon This oak-trunk of God's thunder overthrown Years, years agone; not where 'tis rotted brown But where the thick bark 's firm and overgrown Of clambering ivy blackly berried; where Wild musk of word decay just tincts the air, As if some scrange shrub on some whispering way, In some dewed 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 spectmr, budding thin as dew, To haunt thiese sounding miles of solitude. 4 ACCOLON OF GAUL. Troubled thou askest, Morgane, and the mood, Unfathomed in thine eyes, glows rash and deep As that in some wild-woman's found on sleep By some lost knight upon a precipice, XWhom he hath wakened with a laughing kiss. As that of some frail, elfin lady white As if of watery moonbeams, filmy dight, Who waves diaphanous beauty on some 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, Some mountain water, which the mornings scorn To anadem with fire and leave gray; To which some champion cometh when the Day THath tired of breding on his proud, young head Flame-furry blooms and, golden chapleted, Sits rosy, trembling with full 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 some shadowy lair The eyes of hunted wild things burn with rage,- And on large bosoms doth his love assuage. 5 ACCOLON OF GAUL. " He, coming th ther in that haunted place, Stoops low to qe aff cool waters, when his face Meets gurgling fairy faces in a ring That jostle upward babbling; beckoning Him deep to won'ders secret built of old By some dim witch: '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 to love than queens above.'- He pauses troubled, but a wizard power, In all his bronzer harness that mad hour Plunges him-wiither 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 deep to plunge-and to what breathless fate - Bliss -which, tco true, he hath well quaffed of late! But, there!--may come what stealthy-footed Death With bony claws to clutch away his breath ! And make him loveless to those eyes, alas!- Fain must I speak that vision; thus it was: " In sleep one plucked me some warm fleurs-de-lis, Larger than thos- of earth; and I might see Their woolly golcl, loose, webby woven thro',- 6 ACCOLON OF GAUL. Like fluffy flames spun,-gauzy with fine dew. And 'asphodels!' I murmured; then, 'these sure The Eden amaranths, so angel pure That these alone may pluck them; aye and aye! But with that giving, lo, she passed away Beyond nie on some misty, yearning brook With some sweet song, which all the wild air took With torn farewells and pensive melody Touching to tears, strange, hopeless utterly. So merciless sweet that I yearned high to tear Those ingot-cored and gold-crowned lilies fair; Yet over me a horror which restrained With melancholy presence of two pained And awful, mighty 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 musick 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 plumage white. " Then, then I knew these blooms which she had given Were strays of parting grief and waifs of Heaven For tears and memories; too delicate For eyes of earth such souls immaculate! 7 8ACCOLON OF GAUL. But then-my God! my God! thus these were left! I knew then stil ! but of that song bereft- That rapturous wonder grasping after grief- Beyond all thou ht-weak thought that would be thief." 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: "rAnd didst love me as thy lips have spake No visions wrought of sleep might such love shake. Fast is all Love ;n fastness 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 from dream; Sac/h, the alchemic fires of Love's desires, Which hu- this like a snake, melt to gold wires To chord the old Iyre new whereon he lyres." So ceased and then, sad softness in her eye Sang to his drearm a questioning reply: 'Will love grow less when dead the roguish Spring, Who from gay eyes sowed violets whispering; Peach petals i-l wild cheeks, wvan-wasted thro' Of with-ring grief, laid lovely 'neath the dew, Will love grow less "Will love grow less when comes queen Summer tall, Her throat a lily long and spiritual; Rich as the pop)pied swaths-droned haunts of bees- Her checks, a brown maid's gleaning on the leas, Will love grow less 8 ACCOLO' OF GAUL. 9 "Will love grow less when Autumn sighing there Broods wvith lon,, frost streaks in leer dark, dark hair; Tears in grave eyes as in grave heavens above, Decp lost in memories' mielanchlloy, love, WVill love grow less '' Will love grow less when Winter at the door Begs on her scant 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 thro' her curls. 'Tho' tears become thee even as priceless pearls, WVeep not for love's sake! mine no gloom of doubt, But woe for sweet love's death such dreams brought out. Nay, nay; crowned, throned and flame-anointed he Kings our twin-kingdomed hearts eternally. Love, high in Heaven beginning and to cease No majesty when hearts are laid at peace; But reign supreme, if souls have wrought as well, A god in Heaven or a god in Hell. Yea, Morgane, for the favor of his face All our rich world of love I will retrace: ' Hurt in that battle where thy brother strove With those five kings thou wot'st of, dearest love, ACCOLON 0' GAUL. Wherein the- five were worsted, I was brought To some king's castle on my shield, methought,- Out of the grind of spears and roar of swords, From the loud shields of battle-bloody lords, Culled from the riountained slain where Havoc sprawled Gorged to her eyes with carnage, growling crawled;- By some tail damsels tiremaids of some queen Stately and dark, who moved as if a sheen Of starlight spread her presence; and she came With healing herbs and searched my wounds. A dame So marvelous in raiment silvery I feared lest some attendant chaste were she To that high Holy Grael, which Arthur hath Sought eve:r widely by hoar wood and path;- Thus not for me, a worldly one, to love, Who loved lier even to wonder; skied above His worship as our moon above the Main, That passions upward yearning in great pain, And suffers wearily from year to year, She peaceful pitiless with virgin cheer.- Ah, ideal love, as merciless as fate! And, oh, that savr ge aching which must wait For its fulf lment, tortured love in tears, Until that beauty dreamed of many years Bends over one from luminous skies, so grand One's weakness fears to touch its mastering hand, 1O A CCOL ON OF GA UL. And hesitates and stammers nothings weak, And loves and loves with love that can not speak! Ah, there's the tyranny that breeds despair; Breaks hearts whose strong youth by one golden hair Coiled 'round the throat is sooner strangled dumb Than by a glancing dagger thrust from gloom Of an old arras at the very hour One thought one safest in one's guarded tower.- Thus, Morgane, worshiping that lady I Was speechless; longing now to live, now die, As her fine face suggested secrets of Some passion kin to mine, or scorn of love That dragged heroic humbleness to her feet, For one long look that spake and made such sweet. Ah, never dreamed I of what was to be,- Nay! nay! how could I while that agony Of doubtful love denied my heart too much, Too much to dream of that perfection such As was to grant me boisterous hours of life And sever all the past as with a knife! "One night a tempest scourged and beat and lashed The writhing forest and vast thunders crashed Clamorous with clubs of leven, and anon, Between the thunder pauses, seas would groan Like some enormous curse a knight hath lured I I ACCOLOi OF GAUL. From where it soared to maim it with his sword. I, with eyes partly lidded, seemed to see That cloudy, wiGe-wrenched night's eternity Yawn hells of golden ghastliness; and sweep Distending foams tempestuous up each steep Of furious iron, where pale mermaids sit With tangl-d hair black-blown, who, bit by bit, Chant glimmering; beckoning on to strangling arms Some hurt bark hurrying in the ravenous storm's Resistless exultation; till 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 My dead, drawn face; eyes lidless; matted locks Oozed close with brine; tossed upward merrily By streaming mer.-naids.-Madly seemed to see The vampire echoes of the hoarse wood, who, Collected, sought me; down the casement drew Wet, shuddering a ngers sharply; thronging fast Up hooting turrets, fell thick screaming, cast Down bastionied battlements trooped whistling off; From the wild woodland growled a backward scoff.- Then far away, hoofs of a thousand gales, As wtave rams wave up windy bluffs of Wales, Loosed from the groaning hills, the cohorts loud, I 2 ACCOLON OF GAUL. 13 Spirits of thunder, charioteered of cloud, Roared down the rocking night cored with the glare Of fiery eyeballs swimming; their drenched hair Blown black as rain unkempt back from black brows, Wide mouths of storm that voiced a hell carouse And bulged tight cheeks with wind, rolled riotous by Ruining to ruinous 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 a vague alarm Stung me with terrors of surmise where hope As yet pruned weak wings crippled by their scope. And, lo, she kneeled low, radiant, wonderful, Lawn-raimented and white; kneeled low,-' to lull These thoughts of night such storms might shape in thee, All such to peace and sleep.'-Ah, God! to see Her like a benediction fleshed ! with her Hearing her voice! her cool hand wandering bare Wistful on feverish brow thro' long deep curls! To see her rich throat's carcaneted pearls Rise as her pulses ! eyes' large influence Poured toward me straight as stars, whose sole defense Against all storm is their bold beauty! then To feel her breathe and hear her speak again! ACCOLON OF GAUL. 'Love, mark,' I said or dreamed I moaned in dreams, 'How wails the tumult and the thunder gleams! As if of Arthur'i knights had charged two fields Bright as sun-winds of dawn; swords, spears and shields Flashed lordly shocked; had,-to a man gone down In burst of battle: hurled,-lain silent sown. Love, one eternal tempest thus with thee Were calm, dead calm ! but, no !-for thee in me Such calmv proves tempest. Speak; I feel thy voice Throb soft, caressing silence, healing noise.' "Is radiance loved of radiance day of day Lithe beam of beam and laughing ray of ray Hope loved of hope and happiness of joy, Or love of love, who hath the world for toy And thou-thou lov'st my voice fond Accolon! Why not--yea, why not -nay !-I prithee !-groan Not for that thou hast had long since thine all.' She smiled; and dashed down storm's black-crumbled Baptizing moonlight bathed her, foot and face [wall, Deluging, as my soul brake toward her grace With worship from despair and secret grief, That felt hot tears of heartsease sweet and brief. And one immortal night to me she said Words, lay I white in death had raised me red. 'Rest now, they were, 'I love thee with suck love!- I4 ACCOLON OF GAUL. '5 Some speak of secret love, but God above Hath knowledge and divinement.' . . . Passionate low, 'To lie by thee to-night my mind is':-So She laughed;-' Sleep well !-for me why, thy fast word Of knighthood, look thou, and this 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. Then all mine eyes and lips and limbs were fire; My tongue delirious throbbed a lawless lyre, That harped loud words of laud for loveliness, Inspired of such, but these I can not guess. Then she, as pure as snows of peaks that keep Sun-cloven crowns of virgin, vanquishing steep, Frowned oh me, and the thoughts, that in my brain Had risen a glare of gems, set dull like rain, And fair I spake her and with civil pain: "'Thine, sweet, a devil's kindness which is given For earthly pleasure but bars out from Heaven. A CCOL ON OF GA IL. Temptation harbored, like a bloody rust On a bright blade, leaves ugly stains; and lust Is love's undoing when love's limbs are cast A commonness to desire that makes unchaste; And this warm nearness of what should be hid Makes love a lawless love. But, thou hast bid;- Rest thou; I love thee, how,-I only know: But all that love shall shout "out!" at love's foe.' And turning sighed into my hair; and she Stretched the broad blade's division suddenly. And so we lay its fire between us twain; Unsleeping I, fc r, oh, that devil pain Of passion in me that strove up and stood A rebel ivrangl ng 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 storm gusts of fresh-watered field and wold That breathed of ocean meadows bluely rolled. I drowsed and time passed; stealing as for one Whose drowsy life dreams in Avilion. Vast bulks of black, wind-shattered rack went down High casement squares of heaven, a crystal crown Of bubbled moonlight on each monstrous head, Like as great ghosts of giant kings long dead. And then, meseemed, she lightly laughed and sighed, So soft a taper had not bent aside, ir6 ACCOLON OF GAUL. 7 And leaned a soft face seen thro' loosened hair Above me, whisp'ring as if sweet 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. I did deem She moved in sleep and dreamed perverse, nor wist That which she did until two fierce lips kissed My wondering eyes to wakement of her thought. Then spake I, 'Love, my word! is it then naught Nay, nay, my word albeit the sword be gone !- And wouldst thou try me rest thou safe till dawn! I will not thus forswear! my word stands fast!' But now I felt hot, desperate kisses cast On hair, eves, throat and lips and over and over, Low laughter of 'Sweet wretch! and thou-a lover What is that word if she thou gavest it Unbind thee of it lo, and she sees fit!' Ah, IMIorganie, Morgane, then I knew 'twas thou, Thou! thou! who only could such joy allow." "And, oh, unburied passion of that night; The sleepy birds too early piped of light; Too soon came Light girt with a rosy breeze, Strong from his bath, to wrestle with the trees, A thewy hero; find, alas! too soon ACCOLON OF GAUL. Our scutcheoned oriel stained was overstrewn Of Dawn's air-jewels; then I sang a strain Of sleep that in my memory strives again: " Ethereal limbed the loosely Sleep should sit, Her starbeam locks with some vague splendor lit, Like that the glow-vorm's emerald radiance sheds Thro' twilight dew-drops globed on lily-beds. Her face as fair as if of graven stone, Yet dim and airy as a cloud alone In the bare blue of Heaven, smiling sweet, For languorous thoughts of love that flit and fleet Short-rainbow-winged about her crumpled hair; Yet on her brow a pensiveness more fair, Ungraspable and sad and lost, I wist, Than thoughts of maiden whom her love hath kissed, Who knows, thro' deepening eyes and drowsy breath, Him weeping bent whiles she drifts on to death. Full sweet and sorrowful and blithe withal Should be her brow; not wholly spiritual, But tinged with mortal for the mortal mind, And smote with flushings from some Eden wind; Hinting at heart's ease anc a god's desire Of pleasure hastening in a garb of fire From some dim country over storied seas Glassed of content and foamed of mysteries. A CCOLoaT OF GAUL. I 9 Her ears two sea-pearls' morning-tender pink, And strung to harkening as if on a brink Night with profundity of death and doubt, Yet touched with awfulness of light poured out. Ears strung to palpitations of heart throbs As sea-shells waver with dim ocean sobs. One hand, curved like a mist on dusking skies, Hollowing smooth brows to shade dark velvet eyes,- Dark-lashed and dewed of tear-drops beautiful,- To sound the cowering conscience of the dull, Sleep-sodden features in their human rest, Ere she dare trust her pureness to that breast. Large limbs diaphanous and fleeced with veil Of wimpled heat, wove of the pulsing pale Of rosy midnight, and stained thro' with stars In golden cores; clusters of quivering bars Of nebulous gold, twined round her fleecily. A lucid shape vague in vague mystery. Untrammeled bosoms swelling free and white And prodigal of balm; cupped lilies bright, That to the famished mind yield their pure, best, Voluptuous sleep like honey sucked in rest." Thus they communed. And there her castle stood With slender towers ivied o'er the wood; An ancient chapel creeper-buried near; ACCOLON OF GAULS,. A forest vista, where faint herds of deer Stalked like soft shadows; where the hares did run, Mavis and throstle caroled in the sun. For it was Morgane's realm, embowered Gore; That rooky pile her palace whence she bore With Urience sway; but he at Camelot Knew naught of intrigues here at Chariot. II. NOON ; and the wistful Autumn sat among The lurid woodlands; chiefs who now were wrung By crafty ministers, sin, wind and frost, To don imperial pomp at any cost. On each wild hill they stood as if for war Flaunting barbaric ra'ment wide and far; And burnt-out lusts it1 aged faces raged; Their tottering state by flattering zephyrs paged, Who in a little fretful while, how soon! Would work reoellion Linder some wan moon; Pluck their old beard 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 beltmoaning beggars bowed with woe. 20 A CCOLO.N OF GA U L.L. Blow, wood-wind, blow! now that all 's fresh and fine As earth and wood can make it; fresh as brine And rare with sodden scents of underbrush. Ring, and one hears a cavalcade a-rush; Bold blare of horns; shrill music of steel bows;- A horn! a horn! 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 fist on high To wind the rapid echoes from his horn, That start the field birds from the sheaved corn, Uphurled in vollies of audacious wings, That cease again when it no longer sings. Away, away, they flash a belted band From Camelot thro' that haze-ghostly land; Hounds leashed and learners and a flash of steel, A tramp of horse and the long-baying peal Of stag hounds whimp'ring and-behold! the hart, A lordly height, doth from the covert dart; And the big blood-hounds strain unto the chase. A-hunt! a-hunt! the poyce seems but a pace On ere 'tis wound; but now, where interlace The dense-briered underwoods, the hounds have lost The slot, there where a forest brook hath crossed With intercepting waters full of leaves. 2 22 ACCOLON OF GAUL. Beyond, the hart a tangled labyrinth weaves Thro' 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 from 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 fellows'ip far-F-urthered course away On fresher trace of bind or rugged boar With haggard, hairy flanks, curled tusks and hoar With fierce fcam-fury; and of these bereft The kings continued in the slot they'd left. And there the hart plunged gallant thro' the brake Leaving a torn path shaking in his wake, Down which they followed on thro' many a copse Above whose brush, close on before, the tops Of the large 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 2 2 ACCOLON OF GAUL. 2 3 Left his gray hunter dying near; and thence They held the hunt afoot; when suddenly Were they aware of a wide, roughened sea, And near the wood the hart upon the sward Bayed, panting unto death and winded hard. Right so the king dispatched him and the pryce WVound on his hunting bugle clearly thrice. As if each echo, which that wild horn's blast Waked 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 that red woodland gliding. These each knight Graced with obeisance and " Our lord," said one, Tenders ye courtesy until the dawn; The Earl Sir IDamas; well in his wide keep, bSeen thither with due worship, ye shall sleep." Arid then they came o'erwearied to a hall, An owlet-haunted pile, whose weedy wall Towered based on crags rough, windy turrets high; An old, gaunt giant-castle 'gainst a sky Wherein the moon hung foam-faced, large and full. Down on dank sea-foundations broke the dull, Weird monotone of ocean, and wide rolled The watery wilderness that was as old 24 -CCOLONzV OF GAUL. As loud, defy.ng headlands stretching out Beneath still stars with a voluminous shout Of wreck a'id wrat h forever. Here the two Were feasted fairly and with worship due All errant knights and then a damsel led Each knight with flaring lamp unto his bed Down separate cor,-idores of that great keep; And soon they 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 ring Wild wasted 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-ribb6d cells the eyes Of pale, cadaverous knights shone fixed on him Unhappy; and he pelt his senses swim With foulness of that cell, and, " What are ye Ghosts of chained Thamnpions or a company Of phantoms, bodi.ess 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 24 ACCOLON OF GAUL. 2 5 A dusky nightmare dying day by day, Yet once of comely mien and strong withal And greatly gracious; but, now hunger-tall, With scrawny beard and faded hands and cheeks: " Sir knight," said he, " know that the wretch who speaks Is but an one of twenty knights here shamed Of him who lords this castle, Damas named, Who mews us here for slow starvation keen; Around you fade the bones of some eighteen Tried knights of Britain; and God grant that soon My hunger-lengthened ghost will see the moon, Beyond the vileness of this prisonment !" With that he sighed and round 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 his 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. And thro' puissance hath he some fat fields And one rich manor sumptuous, where he yields 3 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. Belated knights Lost's hospitality. Then bold is Ontzlake, Damas cowardly. For Ontzlake would decide by sword and lance Body for body this inheritance; But Damas dotes on life so courageless; Thus on all knignts perforce lays coward's stress To fight for him or starve. For ye must know That in his country he is hated so That no heim hece 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 wras thoughtful, and each faded, pale, Poor countenanc e still conned him when he spake: "And what reward if one this battle take " " Deliverance for all if of us one Consent tc. be his party's champion. But treachery and he are so close kin We loathe the part as some misshapen sin, And here shtould rather dally on to death Than serving falseness save and slave our breath." " May God deliver you for mercy, sirs !" And right anon in iron noise he hears Of chains clanked loose and bars jarred rusty back, The heavy gate croak open; and the black Of that rank cell astonished was with light, 26 ACCOLON OF GAUL. That danced fantastic with the frantic night. One high torch sidewise worried by the gust Sunned that lorn 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 So noble knights endungeoned hollowing here Doth pain me sore with pity-but, what cheer" "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, And thou but grant me in love's courtesy To fight for Damas and his livelihood. And if thou wilt not-look! thou seest this brood Of lean and dwindled bellies specter-eyed, Keen knights erst who refused me -so decide." Then thought the King of the sweet sky, the breeze That blew delirious over waves and trees; Thick fields of grasses and the 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; 2 7 8CCOLON OF GAUL. Then of the hunt on autumn-plaintive hills; Lone forest chapels by their radiant rills: His palace rich at Caerlleon upon Usk, And Camelot's loud halls that thro' 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 that Grael wide sought In haunted holds on demon-sinful shore; Then marveled of what wars would rise and roar With dragon head3 unconquered and devour This realm of Britain and pluck up that flower 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 dear Guenevere, And with that thought-to starve and moulder here - For, being unfriend to Arthur and his court, Well wist he this grim Earl would bless that sport Of fortune which had fortuned him so well To have to starve his sovereign in a cell.- In the entombing rock where ground the deep; And all the life shut in his limbs did leap 28 ACCOLOV OF GAUL. Thro' 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 path: her torch's fire Scaring wild spidery shadows at each stride From cob-webbed coignes of scowling passes wide, That labyrinthed the rock foundation strong Of that ungainly fortress bleak of wrong. At length they came to a nail-studded door, Which she unlocked with one harsh key she bore Mid many keys bunched at her girdle; thence They issued on a terraced eminence. Beneath the sea broke sounding; and the King Breathed open air that had the smell and sting Of brine morn-vigored and blue-billowed foam; For 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. 29 ACCOLON OF GAUL. But she, well-tutored, her real person masked, And answered falsely; " Nay, deceive thee not; Thou saw'st me n, 'er at Arthur's court, I wot. For here it 'ikes mr.e best to sing and spin And work the hangings my sire's halls within: No courts or tournaments or gallants brave To flatter me and love! for me-the wave, The forest, f eld ard 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 those wild mews to hear." "An owlet maid!' the King laughed. But, untrue Was she, and of false Morgane's treasonous crew, Who worked vile 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 Danras with mailed cowards sate. King Urience that dawning woke and found Himself safe couched at Camelot and wound In Morgane's arms; nor weened he how it was That this thing secretly had come to pass. But Accolor, at Chariot sojourned still Content with his own dreams; for 'twas the will 30 ACCOLO.V OF GAU. 1. Of Morgane thus to keep him hidden here For her desire's excess, where everywhere In Gore by wood and river pleasure houses, Pavilions, rose of rock for love carouses; And there in one, where 'twas her dearest wont To list a tinkling, falling water fount,- Which thro' sweet talks of idle paramours At sensuous ease on tumbled Leds of flowers, Had caught a laughing language light thereof, And rambled ever gently whispering, " love!"- On cool white walls her hands had deftly draped A dark rich hanging, where were worked and shaped Her fullest hours of pleasure flesh and mind, Imperishable passions, which could wind The past and present quickly; and could mate Dead loves to kisses, and intoxicate With moon-soft words of past delight and song The heavy heart that wronged forgot the wrong. And there beside it pooled the urned well, And slipping thence thro' dripping shadows fell From rippling rock to rock. Here Accolon, With Morgane's hollow lute, one studious dawn Came solely; with not ev'n her brindled hound To leap beside him o'er the gleaming ground; No handmaid lovely of his loveliest fair, Or paging dwarf in purple with him there; 3 I A4DCCOLO OF GAUadL. But this her lute, about which her perfume Clung odorous of memories, that made bloom Her flowing features rosy to his eyes, That saw the words, his sense could but surmise, Shaped on dim, breathing lips; the laugh that drunk Her deep soul-firt from eyes wherein it sunk And slowly waned away to smouldering dreams, Fathomless with thought, far in their dove-gray gleams. And so for those most serious eyes and lips, Faint, filmyd features, all the music slips Of buoyant being bubbling to his voice To chant her praises; and with nervous poise His fleet, trained aingers call from her long lute Such riotous notes as must make madly 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 hear" now sobless, not in vain Wild 'neath 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 passion at her ear, Of death mere dea: than life if love be there; Melt her quick eyes to tears, her throat to sobs Tumultuous heaved, while separation throbs 32 ACCOLON OF 0AUL. 33 Hard at her heart, and longing rears to Death Two prayerful eyes of pleading " for one breath- An ardor of fierce life-crushed in his arms Close, close ! and, oh, for such, all these smooth charms, Full, sentient charms voluptuous evermore!" And sweet to know these sensitive vows shall soar Ev'n to the dull ear of her drowsy lord Beside her; heart-defying with each word Harped in the bird's voice rhythmically clear. And thus he sang to her who was not there: "She comes! her presence, like a moving song Breathed soft of loveliest lips and lute-like tongue, Sways all the gurgling forests from their rest: I fancy where her rustling foot is pressed, So faltering, love seems timid, but how strong IThat darling love that flutters in her breast! " She comes! and the green vistas are stormed thro'- As if wild wings, vet-varnished with dripped dew, Had dashed a sudden sunbeam tempest past, -With her eyes' inspiration clearly chaste; A rhythmic lavishment of bright gray blue, Long arrowvs of her eyes perfection cast. " Ah, God! she comnes! and, Love, I feel thy breath, Like the soft South who idly wandereth Thro' 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.' 33 A CCOL ON OF GA UL. "She comes! ah, God! and all my brain is brave To war for wo ds to laud her and to lave Her queenly beauty in such vows whereof May hush melodious cooings of a dove: For her light fret the favored path to pave With oaths, like roses, raving mad with love. "She comes! il. me a passion-as the moon Works madness in strong men-my blood doth swoon Towards her glory; and I feel her soul Cling lip to Sip with mine; and now the whole Mix with me, aching like a tender tune Exhausted; lavished in a god's control. She comes! ah, Christ! ye eager stars that grace The fraigmentary skies, that dimple space, Clink, and I hear her harp-sweet footfalls come: Ah, wood-irdulging, violet-vague perfume, Art of her presence, of her wild-flower face, That like som-e gracious blossom stains the gloom Oh, living exultation of the blood! T'hat noav-as sunbursts, the almighty mood Of some mcved god, scatter the storm that roars, And h.,sh-ber love like some spent splendor pours Into it all immaculate maidenhood, And all the heart that hesitates-adores. Vanquished! so vanquished !-ah, triumphant sweet! The height of heaven-supine at thy feet! Where love feasts crowned, and basks in such a glare As hearts of suns burn, in thine eyes and hair, Unutterable with raveled fires that cheat The ardent lay of me and make me air. 34 ACCOLON OF GAUL. . " And so, rare witch, thy blood, like some lewd wnine, Shall subtly make me, like thee, half divine, And,-sweet rebellion !-clasp thee till thou urge To combat close of savage kisses: surge A war that rubies all thy proud cheeks' shine,- Slain, struggling blushes,-till white truce emerge. "My life for thine, thus bartered lip to lip! A striving being pulsant, that shall slip Like song and flame in sense from thee to me; Nor held, but quick rebartered thence to thee: So our two loves be as a singleship, Ten thousand loves as one eternally." Babbled the woodland like a rocky brook; And as the ecstacy of foliage shook, Hot pieces of bright, sunny heavers glanced Like polished silver thro' pale leaves that danced. As one hath seen some green-gowned huntress fair, Morn in her cheeks and midnight in her hair, Eyes clear as hollow dews; clean limbs as lithe As limbs swift morning moves; a voice as blithe As high hawk's ringing thro' the falling dews; Pant thro' the bramble-matted avenues,- [green, Where brier and thorn have gashed her gown's pinched About bright breasts and arms, the milky sheen Of white skin healthy pouting out; her face, Ardent and flushed, fixed on the lordly chase. 35 ACCOLON OF GAUL. III. THE eve now came; and shadows cowled the way Like somber palmers, who have kneeled to pray Beside a wvayside shrine, and rosy rolled Up the capaciou3 West a grainy gold, Luxuriant fluid, burned thro' strong, keen skies, Which seemed a- towering gates of Paradise Surged dim, far glories on the hungry gaze. And from that sunset down the roseate ways, To Accolon, who with his idle lute, Reclined in revery against a root Of a great oak, a fragment of that West, A dwarf, in crimson satin tightly dressed, Skipped like a leaf the rather frosts have burned And cozered to a fever red, that turned And withered all its sap. And this one came From Camelot; from his beloved dame, Morgane the Fay He on his shoulder bore A burning blade wrought strange with wizard lore, Runed mystically; and a scabbard which Glared venomous, with angry jewels rich. He, loutirg to the knight, "Sir knight," said he, " Your lady with all sweetest courtesy Assures you-ah, unworthy messenger 36 ACCOLOAT OF GAUU L3 I of such brightness !-of that love of her." Then doffing that great baldric, with the sword To him he gave: " And this from him, my lord King Arthur; even his Excalibur, The sovereign blade, which Merlin gat of her, The Ladye of the Lake, who Launcelot Fostered from infanthood, as well you wot, In some wierd mere in Briogn'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 With one of mightier prowess were begun; And with the sword Excalibur right sure Were she against that champion to endure. The blade flame-trenchant, but more prize the sheath Which stauncheth blood and guardeth from all death." He said: and Accolon looked on the sword, A mystic falchion, and, " It shall wend hard With him thro' thee, unconquerable blade, Whoe'er he be, who on my Queen hath laid Stress of unworship: and the hours as slow As palsied hours in Purgatory go For those unmassed, till I have slain this foe! 3 7 ACCOLOAT OF GAUL. My purse, sweet oage; and now-to her who gave, Dispatch! and tl:is:-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 w hite 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 ray sent From rich down-flowering clouds of suffused light Winged o'er lon[, purple glooms; and with the night, Whose vov-aress cypress stoled the dying strife Softly of day, and for whose perished life Gave heaven her golden stars, in dreamy thought Wends Accolon to hazy Chariot. And it befell him 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 From heady breeze and racy smells, a knight And lofty lady met he; 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 38 ACCOLOAN OF GAUL.3 From Ontzlake's manor, where he languished; sore Hurt in the lists, a spear thrust 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, the Queen's abode, That they would pray her in all charity Fare post to him,-for in chirurgery Of all that land she was the greatest leach,- And her to his recovery beseech. So, Accolon saluted, they drew rein, And spake their message,-for right over fain Were they toward their sport,-that he might bare Petition to that lady. But, not there Was Arthur's sister, as they well must wot; But now a se'nnight lay at Camelot, Of Guenevere the guest; and there with her 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 She of the Out Isles Queen. A fairer band For sovereignty and love and loveliness 39 ACCOLON OF GAUL. Was not in any realm to grace and bless. Then qucoth 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 Lamas, who so long hath lain A hiding vermiti, fearful of all pain, Dark in h s bandit towers by the deep, Wakes from a five years' torpor and a sleep; So sends dispatcl. 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 bestnad lies Ontzlake, and he could, Right fain were he to save his livelihood. Then mused Sir Accolon: " The adventure goes Ev'n as my Lady fashioneth; who knows But what her arts develop this and make " And thus to those: " His battle I will take,- And he be so conditioned, harried of Estate and life,-in knighthood and for love. Conduct me thithe:." And, gramercied, then Mounted a void horse of that wondering train, 40 ACCOLOA' OF GAUL. And thence departed with two squires. And they Came to a lone, dismantled priory Hard by a castle gray on whose square towers, Machicolated, o'er the forest's bowers, The immemorial morning bloomed and blushed. A woodland manor olden, dark embushed In wild and woody hills. And then one wound An echoy horn, and with the boundless sound The drawbridge rumbled moatward clanking, and Into a paved court passed that 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 humming lyre Swept bold of minstrel fingers wire on wire; Ere that fixed hour of prime came Arthur armed For battle royally. A black steed warmed A fierce impatience 'neath him cased in mail, Huge, foreign; and accoutered head to tail In costly sendal; rearward wine-dark red, Amber as sunlight to his fretful head. Firm, heavv armor blue had Arthur on Beneath a robe of honor, like the dawn, Satin and diapered and purflewed deep With lordly golden purple; whence did sweep rwo hanging acorn tuftings of fine gold, 4 4T ACCOLOAN OF GAUL. And at his thigh a falchion, long and bold, Heavy and t.riple-edged; its scabbard, red Cordovan leather-; thence a baldric led Of new cut deer-skin; this laborious wrought, And curiously with slides of gold was fraught, And buckled with a buckle white that shone, Bone of the sea-horse, tongued with jet-black bone. And, sapphire-set, a burgonet of gold B3arbaric, wyverri-crested whose throat rolled A flame-shArp tongue of agate, and whose eyes Glowed venomous great rubies fierce of prize. And in his hand a wiry lance of ash, Lattened with finest silver, like a flash Of sunlight in the morning shone a-gash. Clad was his square most richly; he whose head Curled with close locks of yellow tinged to red: Of noble searing; fair face; hawk eyes keen, And youthful, bearded chin. Right well beseen, Scarfed with blue satin; on his shoulder stroiig One broad gold brooch chased strangely, thick and long. His legs in hose of rarest Totness clad, And parti-colored leathern 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, 42 ACCOLOS OF GAUL. Thro' dew and fog, thro' shadow and thro' ray Joustward Earl Damnas led the forest way. Then to King Arthur when arrived were these To where the lists shone silken thro' the trees, Banncrcd and draped, a wimpled damsel came, Secret, upon a palfrey all aflame With sweat and heat of hurry, and, " From her, Your sister Morgane, your Excalibur, With tender greeting: For ye well have need In this adventure of him. So, God speed !" And so 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, of her of kin Half sister, Morgane-an unnatural sin. Then heralded into the lists lhe rode. Opposed flashed Accolon, who light bestrode, Exultant, proud in talisman of that sword, A dun horse lofty as a haughty lord, Pure white about each hollow, pasterned hoof. Equipped shone knight and steed in arms of proof, Dappled with yellow variegated plate Of Spanish laton. And of sovereign state His surcoat robe of honor white and black 44 ACCOLOYV OF GAUL. Of satin, red-silk needled front and back Then blackly bordered. And above his robe That txvo-edgec sword,-a throbbing golden globe Of vicious jewels,-thrust its burning hilt, Its broad belt, tawny and with gold-work gilt, Clasped with the eyelid of a black sea-horse Whose tongue vas rosy gold. And stern as Force His visored helmet burned like fire, of rich And bronzcn laton hammered; and on which An hundred crystals glittered, thick as on A silver web bright-studding dews of dawn. The casque's tail crest a taloned griffin ramped, In whose horned brow one virtuous jewel stamped. An ashen shear round-shafted, overlaid With fine blue silver, whereon colors played, Firm in his iron gauntlet lithely swayed. Intense on either side an instant stood Glittering as serpents which, with Spring renewed, In glassy scales nneet on some greening way, Angry advance, cuick tongues at poisonous play. Then clang d a herald's clarion and sharp heels, Harsh-spurred, each champion's springing courser feels Touch to red onset; the aventured spears Hurled like two sun-bursts of a storm when clears Laborious tiulnders; and in middle course ACCOLOAN OF GAUL. Shrieked shrill the unpierced shields; mailed horse from Lashed madly pawing-and a hoarse roar rang [horse From buckram lists, till the wild echoes sang Of leagues on leagues of forest and of cliff. Rigid the proof-shelled warriors passed and stiff Whither their squires fresher spears upheld; Nor stayed to breathe; but scarcely firmly selled Launched deadly forward. Shield to savage shield Opposing; crest to crest, whose fronts did wield A towering war's uninercifulest scath; Rocking unda.unted, glared Nvan withering wrath Fromn balls of jeweled eyes, and raging stood Slim, slippery bodies, in the sun like blood. The lance of Accolon, as on a rock Lonig stornm-launclhed foam breaks baffled, with the shock, On Arthur's sounding shield burst splintered force; But him resistless Arthur's,-high from horse Sell-lifted,-ruinous bare crashing on 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 Fresh flashed in 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 light, Arthur his moon-bright brand unsheathed, and high 4 5, ACCOLON OF GAUL. Each covering shield gleamed slanting to the sky, Relentless, strong, and stubborn; underneath Their wary shelters foined the glittering death Of stolid steel thrust livid arm to arm: As cloud to clouid growls up a soaring storm Above the bleak wood and lithe lightnings work Brave blades wild warring, in the black that lurk, Thus fenced and thrust-one tortoise shield descends, Leaps a fierce sword shrill,-like a flame which sends A long fang heavenward,-for a crushing stroke; Swings hard and trenchant, and, resounding heard, Sings surly helmward full; defiance reared Soars to a brother blow to shriek again Blade on brave blade. And o'er the battered plain, Forward and backward, blade on baleful blade, Teeth clenched as visors where the fierce eyes made A cavernous, smouldering fury, shield at shield, Unflinchiingly remnained and scorned to yield. So Arthur drew aside to rest upon His falchion for a pause; but Accolon As yet, tiro' virtie of that magic sheath Fresh andc almighty, being no nearer death Thro' loss of blood than when the trial begun, Chafed with delay. But Arthur with the sun, Its thirsty heat, the loss from wounds of blood, 46 ACCOLOAT OF GAUL. Leaned fainting weary and so resting stood. Cried Accolon, " Here is no time for rest! Defend thee !" and straight on the monarch pressed; " Defend or yield thee as one recreant!" Full on his helm a hewing blow did plant, Which beat a flying fire from the steel; Smote, like one drunk with wvine, the King did reel, Breath, brain bewildered. Then, infuriate, Nerve-stung with vigor by that blow, in hate Gnarled all his strength into one stroke of might, And in both fists the huge blade knotted tight, Swung red, terrific to a sundering stroke.- As some bright wind that hurls th' uprooted oak,- Boomed full the beaten burgonet he wore: Hacked thro' and thro' the crest, and cleanly shore The golden boasting of its griffin fierce With hollow clamor down astounded ears: 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 so he knew This no Excalibur; that tried and true Most perfect tempered, runed and mystical. Sobbed, "0/i, kell-false! betray me "-Then withal Him seem-ned this foe, who fought with so much stress, 47 4ACCOLON OF GAUL. So long untiring, and with no distress Of wounds or heat, through treachery bare his brand; And the.i he knew it by its hilt that hand Clutched to 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 off-hewn bits Of shivered steel and gold that burnt in fits. So hunted, yet defiant, cowering Beneath his bossy shield's defense, the King Persisted stoutl;. And, devising still How to szcure iis sword and by what skill, Him so it Tortured when most desperate: In that hot Chase they came where shattered late Lay tossed the truncheon of a bursten lance, Which deftly seized, to Accolon's advance He wielded valo.ous. Against the fist Smote where the gauntlet husked the nervous wrist, Which strained the weapon to 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,- 48 ACCOLON OF GAUL 49 Him in both knotted arms of wiry war, Rocked sidewise twice or thrice,-as one hath seen Some stern storm 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;-so King Arthur shook Sir Accolon and headlong flung; then took, Tearing away, that scabbard from his side, Tossed thro' 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 Hewed thro' that blow; unsettled every sense: Bathed in a world of blood his limbs grew tense And writhen then ungathered limp with death. Bent to him Arthur, from the brow beneath, Unlaced the helm and doffed it and so asked, When the fair forehead's hair curled dark uncasqued, " Say! ere I slay thee, whence and what thou art What King, what court be thine and from what part, Speak! or thou diest !-Yet, that brow, methinks I have beheld it-where say, ere death drinks The soul-light from life's cups, thine eyes! thou art- What art thou, speak!" He answered slow and short 5 49 51CCOLON OF GAUL. With tortured breathing: " I -one, Accolon Of Gaul, a knight of Arthur's court-at dawn- God wo: what now I amn for love so slain !" Then seemed the victor spasmed with keen pain, Covered with rnailed hands his visored face; " Thou Accolo l art Accolon " a space Exclaimed and conned him: then asked softly, " Say, Whence gatest thou this sword, or in what way Thou hadAt it, speak " But wandering that knight Heard dully, senses clodded thick with night; Then rallying earthward: "Woe, woe worth the sword! -From 'ove of love who lives, for love yet lord!- Morgane i-thy love for love in love hadst made Me strong o'er kings an hundred! to have swayed Britain ! had this not risen like a fate, Spawned up, a Hell's miscarriage sired of Hate !- A king thou curse! a gold and blood crowned king, With Arthur's sister queen-'Twas she who schemed, And there at Chariot we loved and dreamed Gone soine twe've months. There so we had devolved How Artvur's death were compassed and resolved Each liberal morning, like an almoner, Prodigal of silver to the begging air; Each turbulent eve that in heaven's turquoise rolled Convulsive fiery glories deep in gold; Each night-hilarious heavens vast of night !- 50 ACCOLOX OF GAUL. Boisterous with quivering stars buoyed bubble-light In flexuous labyrinths o' the intricate sphere. We dreamed and spake Ambition at our ear- Nay! a crowned curse and crimeful clad she came, To me, that woman, brighter than a flame; And laughed on me with pouting lips up-pursed For kisses which I gave for love: How cursed Was I thereafter! For, lie fleshed in truth, She shrivels to a hag! Behind that youth Ugly, misshapen; Lust not Love, wherein Germs pregnant seed of Hell for hate and sin.- I seek for such the proudest height of seat, King Arthur's kingdom, and bold fame complete - Harlot !-sweet spouse of Urience King of Gore!- Sweet harlot !-here's that death determined o'er! And now thou hast thy dream, and dreaming grieve That death so ruins it -Thy mouth to shrieve!- Nay, nay, I love thee! witness bare this field! I love thee !-heart, dost love her and yet yield - Enoxv! enow! so hale me hence to die !" Then anger in the good King's gloomy eye Burnt, instant-embered, as one oft may see 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, 5 I ACCOL ON OF GAUL. Then low bespake him grimly: " Accolon, I am that King." 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 tallness, hoarsely cried, " The King !" and at his mailed feet clashed and died. Then rose a world of anxious faces pressed About King Artrnur, who, though wound-distressed, Bespake tiat multitude: " Whiles breath and power Remain, judge we these brethren: This harsh hour Hath yielded Damas all this rich estate;- So it is his -allotted his of Fate Thro' migit 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 this 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 iroi host to seal his doom; If he be not departed over seas, Hang naked fron, his battlements to please Of carrion ravens and wild hawks the craws. Thus much for Llamas. But our pleasure draws 5 2 ACCOLON OF GAUL. Toward sir Ontzlake, whom it likes the King To take into his knightly following Of that Round Table royal.-Stand our word!- But I am overweary; take my sword;- Unharness me; for, battle worn, I tire With bruises' achings and wounds mad with fire; And monasteryward would I right fain, Even Glastonbury and with me the slain." So bare they then the wounded King away, The dead behind. So, closed the Autumn day. But when within that abbey he waxed strong, The King remembering him of all the wrong That Damas had inflicted on the land, Commanded Lionell with a staunch band This weed's out-stamping 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 freshening foam that climbed with haling hands, Lone cloudy-clustered turrets in loud lands Set desolate,-mournful o'er wide, frozen flats,- Found hollow towers the haunt of owls and bats. 53 54 ACCOLON OF GAUL. IV. H ATE, born of Wrath and mother red of Crime, In Hell was whelped ere the hot hands of time, Artificer of God, had coined one world From formless forms of void and 'round it furled Its lordly raiment of the day and night, And germed its womb for seasons throed with might: And Hell sent Hate to man to hate or use, To serve itself by serving and amuse. For her half brother Morgane had conceived A morbid hatred; in that much she grieved, Envious and jealous, for that high renown And majesty the King for his fast crown Thro' wo-ship had acquired. And once he said, " The closest kin to state are those to dread: No honor such to crush: envenoming All those knd tongues of blood that try to sing Petition to the soul, while conscience quakes Huddled, but ste:n to hearts whose cold pride takes." And well she knew that Arthur: mightier Than Accclon, without Excalibur Were as a stingless hornet in the joust With all his foreign weapons. So her trust Smiled certain of conclusion; eloquent .4CCOLON Or' G;U1_I 55 Gave lofty heart bold hope that 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,- Thought at her tri-arched casement lone, one night, Ere yet came knowledge of that test of might. Her lord in slumber and the castle dull With silence or with sad wind-music full. " And he removed -fond fool! he is removed! Death-dull from feet to hair and graveward shoved From royalty to that degraded state But purpler pomp! But, see! regenerate 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, sweet Launcelots and sweet Tristrams proud, Sweet Gueneveres, sweet Isouds, now allowed No pleasures but what wary, stolen hours In golden places have their flaming flowers, ACC5ACOA Orb- GAUL. Shall have curled feasts of passion evermore. Poor out--thrust Love, now shivering at the door, No longet, sweet neglected, thou 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 wonian's life for every sacrifice- To him so little, yet of what pure price, Her all, being al' 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-love that drew Hips, head and lhair in fiends' devouring claws Down, down its pit's hurled sucking, as down draws,- Yet lip to narrow lip with whom we love,- A whirlwin-i some weak, crippled, fallen dove. " Then this lank tUrience He who is lord.- Where is trhy worry for, hath he no sword No dangerous dagger I, hid softly here 56 AICCOLOAT OF GAUL. Sharp as an adder's fang or for that ear No instant poison which insinuates, Tightens quick pulses, while one breathing waits, With ice and death For often men who sleep On eider-down wake not, but closely keep Such secrets in their graves to rot and rot To dust and maggots;-of these-which his lot" Thus she conspired with her that rainy night Lone in her chamber; when no haggard, white, Wan, watery moon dreamed on the streaming pane, But on the leads beat aln incessant rain, And sighed and moaned a weary wind along The turrets and torn poplars stirred to song. So grew her face severe as skies that take Dark forces of full storm, sound-shod, that shake With murmurous feet black hills, and stab with fire A pine some 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 glass deep Suggestive worlds of 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, 5 7 ACCOLON OF GAUL. Secret as love to move in, like some ghost, Noiseless as dec.th and subtle as sharp frost, Poised like a light and borne as carefully, Trod she the gusty hall where shadowy The stirring hangings rolled a Pagan war. And the-e the mail of Urience shone. 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. Grasping this death unto the chamber where Slept innocent ber spouse she moved-an air Twined in soft, glossy sendal; or a fit Of faery song a wicked charm in it, A spell that sings seductive on to death. Then paised she at one chamber; for a breath Listened- and here her son Sir Ewain slept, He who of rave is a black army kept, In war than fiercest men more terrible, That tore forth eyes of kings who blinded fell. Sure that he slept, to Urience stole and stood Dim by his cou.-h. About her heart hot 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 58 A CCOLON OF GAULUZ. Trickling thro' perplexed ripples of low leaves; To whose faint form a veil of starshine cleaves Intricate gauze from memoried eyes to feet;- Feet sandaled with crushed, 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 hateful Urience:-Her maiden love, That willing went from Caerlleon to Gore One dazzling day of Autumn. How a boar, Wild as the wonder of the blazing wood, Raged at her from a cavernous solitude, Which, crimson-creepered, yawned the bristling curse Murderous upon her; how her steed waxed worse And, snorting terror, fled unmanageable, Pursued with fear, and flung her from the selle, Soft slipping on a bank of springy moss That couched her swooning. In an utter loss Of mind and limbs she only knew twas thus- As one who pants beneath an incubus:- The boar thrust toward her a tusked snout and fanged Of hideous bristles, and the whole wood clanged And buzzed and boomed a thousand sounds and lights Lawless about her brain, like leaves fierce nights 5 9 oACCOLON OF GAUL. Of hurrizane harvest shouting: then she knew A fury thunder twixt it-and fleet flew Rich-rooted moss and sandy loam that held Dark-buried shadows of the wild, and swelled Continua; 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 wrestled twixt her hair and arms, While trampled caked the stricken leaves or shred Hummed whirling, and snapped brittle branches dead. And when she rose and leaned her throbbing head, Which burst its uncoifed rays of raven hair Down swelling 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, swoln arm, that pinned the hairy fright, Strong as a godcs, iron at the gullet's brawn; Dug in his midriff, the close knees updrawn Wedged deep the glutton sides that quaked and strove A shaggy bulk, whose sharp hoofs horny drove. Thus rnar. and brute burned 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 60 ACCOLON OF GAUL. High in the sun its ghastliness of ice, Plunged-and the great boar, stretched in sullen death, Weakened thro' wild veins, groaned laborious breath. And how he brought her water from a well That rustled freshness near them, as it fell From its full-mantled urn, in his deep casque, And prayed her quaff; then bathed her brow, a task That had accompaning tears of joy and vows Of love, sweet intercourse of eyes and brows, And many clinging kisses eloquent. And how, when dressed his arm, behind him bent She clasped him on the same steed and they went On thro' 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 Brought knightly Tristram o'er the Irish foam, And Guenevere's for Launcelot of the Lake. And then how passion from these seemed to wake Longing for some great gallant 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 ACCOLON OF GAUL. Were hers and his-her lover's; and success How doubly difficult if Arthur slain, King Urience lived to assert his right to reign. So paused she pondering on the blade; her lips Breathless and close as close cold finger tips Hugged the huge weapon's hilt. And so she sighcd, " Nay! long, too long hast lived who shouldst have died Even in the womb abortive! who these years Hast l ashed .weet life to care with stinging tears, A knct thus harshly severed !-As thou art Into the elements naked !" O'er his heart The long sword hesitated, lean as crime, Descendcd redly once. And like a rhyme Of nice words fairly fitted forming on,- A sudden ceasing and the harmony gone, So ran to death the life of Urience, A strong song incomplete of broken sense. There glowered the crimeful Queen The glistening sword Unfleshed, flung by her wronged and murdered lord; And the dark izlood spread broader thro' the sheet To drip a horror at impassive feet And blur the polished oak. But lofty she Stood proud, relentless; in her ecstacy A lovely devil; a crowned lust that cried On Accolon; that harlot which defied ACCOLON OF GAUL. Heaven with a voice of pulses clamorous as Steep storm that down a cavernous mountain pass Blasphemes an hundred echoes; with like power The inner harlot called its paramour: Him whom King Arthur had commanded, when Borne from the lists, be granted her again As his blithe gift and welcome from that joust, For treacherous love and her adulterous lust. And while she stood revolving how her deed's Concealment were secured,-a grind of steeds, Arms, jingling stirrups, voices loud that cursed Fierce 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, to quit the dead. So a wild specter down wide stairs she fled, 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, a boon !" laughed harsh and hoarse; Two henchmen beckoned, who pitched sheer with force, Loud clanging at her feet, hacked, hewn and red, Crusted with blood a knight in armor-dead; Even Accolon, tossed with the mocking scoff " This from the King !"-phantoms in fog rode off. 63 ACCOLON OF GA UL. And what remains From Camelot to Gore That right she weeping fled; then to the shore,- As that rosrmancer tells,-Avilion, Where she hath Majesty gold-crowned yet wan; In darkest cypress a frail pitious face Queenly and lovely; 'round sad eyes the trace Of immnemorial tears as for some crime: They future fixed, expectant of the time When the forgiving Arthur cometh and Shall have tc rule all that lost golden land That drifts vague amber in forgotten seas Of surgeless turquoise dim with mysteries. And so was seen Morgana nevermore, Save once when from the Cornwall coast she bore The woun-ded Arthur from that last fought fight Of Camnlan in a black barge into night. But oft some see her with a palfried band Of serge-stoitd maidens thro' the drowsy land Of Autumn glimmer; when are sharply strewn The red leaves, while broad in the east a moon Swings full ol' frost a lustrous globe of gleams, Faint on the mooning hills as shapes in dreams. 64 DER FREISCHUTZ. Es gihl im fllensclzenlene Augenb/icke, eo er dern ellUegeisl ndAer ist als SoUt.-SCHILLER. H E why, a tall Franconian strong and young, Brown as a walnut the first frost hath hulled; A soul of full endeavor powerful Bound in lithe limbs, knit into grace and strength Of bronze-like muscles elegant, that poised A head like Hope's; and then the manly lines Of face developed by action and mobile To each suggestive impulse of the mind, Of smiles of buoyancy or scowls of gloom.- And what deep eyes were his !-Aye; I can see Their wild and restless disks of luminous night Instinct with haughtiness that sneered at Fate, Glared cold conclusion to all circumstance, As with loud law, to his advantage swift: With scorn derisive that shot out a barb, Stabbed Superstition to its dagger hilt; That smiled a thrust-like smile which curled the lip, A vicious heresy with incredible lore, 6 DER FREISCHUTZ. Whe-i God's or holy Mary's name came forth Exclaimed in reverence or astonishment; And then would say, "What is this God you mouth, Employ w lose name to sanctify and damn- A benedict've curse-'T hath past my skill Of grave interpretation. And your faith- Dist'nguisi;ment unseen, design unlawed. For earth, air, fire or water or keen cold, Hints no existence of such, worships not, Such as men's minds profess. Rather, nmeseems, Th-oned have they one such as their hopes have wrought In hope there may prove such an one in death Fcr Paradise or punishment. I hold He juster were and would be kinglier kind In sovereign mercy and a prodigal- No't to few favored heads who, crowned with state, Rule sceptered Infamies-of indulgence free To all that burn luxuriant incense on Shrines while they prayer him love's obedience. Are all not children of the same weak mold Clai- of His Adam-modeled clay made quick Endowed with the like hopes, loves, fears atnd hates, Our mother's weaknesses And these, forsooth, These little crowns that lord it o'er His world, Tricked up with imitative majesty, 66 DER FREISCHUTZ. God-countenanced arrogances, throned may still Cry, 'crawl and worship, for we are as gods Through God! great gods incarnate of his kind!' -Omnipotent Wrong-representatives! With might that blasts the world with wars and wrings Groans from pale Nations with hell's tyranny. So to my mind real monarch only he- Your Satan cramped in Hell !-aye, by the fiend! To pygmy Earth's frail tinsel majesties, That ape a God in a sonorous Heaven. Grant me the Devil in all mercy then, For I wvill none of such I a fiend for friend While Earth is of the earth; and afterward- Nay ! ransack not To-morrow till To-day, If all that's joy engulf you when it is." And laughed an oily laugh of easy jest To bow out God and hand the Devil in.- I met him here at Ammendorf one Spring, Toward the close of April when the Harz, Veined to their ruin-crcsted summits, pulsed A fluid life of green and budded gold Beneath pure breathing skies of boundless blue: Where low-yoked oxen, yellow to the knees, Along the fluted meadow, freshly ploughed, Plodded and snuffed the fragrance of the soil, The free bird sang exultant in the sun. 6 7 DI/-A' F'EIZSCHU7Z. Triarnph2at Spring with hinted hopes of May And jaunty June, her mouth a puckered rose. Here at tIis very hostelery o' The Owl; Mine host there sleek served cannikins of wine Beneath that elm now touseled by that shrew, Lea n Wititer. Well !-a lordly vintage that! With tang of fires which had sucked out their soul From feverish sun-vats, cooled it from the moon's; From wine-skin bellies of the bursting grape T-odden, in darkness of old cellars aged Even to tile tingling smack of olden earth. Rich! I remember !-wine that spurred the blood-- Thou hast none such, I swear, nor wilt again !- That brought the heart loud to the generous mouth, And made the eyes unlatticed casements whence The good man's soul laughed interested out. Stoups of rare royal Rhenish, such they say As Necrcmance hides guarded in vast casks Of antique make far in the Kyffhauser, The Cellar of the Knights near Sittendorf. So, mellowed by that wine to friendship frank, He spake me his intent in coming here; But not one word of what his parentage; But this his name was, Rudolf, and his home, Franconia; but nor why he left nor when: His mind to live a forester and be 68 DER FREISCHUTZ. Enfellowed in the Duke of Brunswick's train Of buff and green; and so to his estate Even now was bound, a youth of twenty-three. And when he ceased the fire in his eyes Worked restless as a troubled animal's, Which hate-enraged can burn a steady flame, Brute merciless. And thus I mused with me, When he had ceased to fulminate at state, " Another Count von Hackelnburg the fiend Hath tricked unto the chase !-for hounds from Hell " But answered nothing, save light words of cheer As best become fleet friends warmi wine doth make. Then as it chanced, old Kurt had come that morn \With some six of his jerkined foresters From the Thuringian forest; damp with dew; Red-cheeked as morn with early travel; bound For Brunswick, Dummburg and the Hakel passed. Chief huntsman he then to the goodly Duke, And father of the sunniest maiden here In Ammendorf, the blameless Ilsabe; Who, motherless, the white-haired father prized A jewel priceless. As huge barons' ghosts Guard big, accumulated hoards of wealth, Fast-sealed in caverned cellars, robber wells, Beneath the dungeoned Dummburg, so he watched Her, all his world in her who was his wealth. 69 DER FREISCHUTZ. A second Lora of Thuringia she. Faultless for love, instilled all souls with love, Who, in the favor of her maiden smile, Felt friendship grow up like a golden thought; A Efe of love from words; and light that fell And, wrought calm influence from her pure blue eyes. Hair sedate and austerely dressed o'er brows White as a Harz dove's wing; hair with the hue Of twilight mists the sun hath soaked with gold. A Ty rolean melody that brought Dim dreams of Alpine heights, of shepherds brown, Goat-skinned, with healthy cheeks and wrinkled lips That fill wind oaten pipes on wand'ring ways, Embowered deep, with mountain melodies,- Simple with love and plaintive even to tears,- Her presence, her sweet presence like a song. And when -he left, it was as when one hath Beheld a moonlit Undine, ere the mind Adjusts one thought, cleave thro' the glassy Rhine A giittering beauty wet, and gone again A flash-the soul drifts wondering on in dreams. Some thirty years agone is that; and I, Commissioner of the Duke-no sinecure I can assure you-had scarce reached the age Of thirty (then some three years of that House). Thrc' me the bold Franconian, whom at first, 70 DER FREISCHUTZ. By bitter principles and scorn of state- Developed into argument thro' wine- The foresthood like was to be denied, Was then enfellowed. " Yes," I said, " he's young; True, rashly young! yet, see: a wiry frame, A chamois' footing, and a face for right; An eye which likes me not, but quick with pride, And aimed at thought, a butt it may not miss: A soul with virgin virtues which crude flesh Makes seem but vices, these but God may see- Develop these. But, if there's aught of worth, Body or mind, in him, Kurt, thou wilt know, And to the surface wear, as divers win From hideous ooze and life rich jewels lost Of polished pureness, vorthless left to night, Thou or thy daughter, and inspire for good." A year thereafter was it that I heard Of Rudolf's passion for Kurt's Ilsabe, Then their betrothal. And it was from this,- For, ah. that Ilsabe ! that Ilsabe !- Good Mary Mother! how she haunts me yet! She, that true touchstone which philosophers feign Contacts and golds all base; a woman who Could touch all evil into good in man.- Surmised I of the excellency which 7 I 72 DER FA'ESCGHUTZ. Refinement. of her gentle company, Warm presence of chaste beauty, had resolved His fiery nature to, conditioning slave. And so I came from Brunswick-as you know- Is custom of the Duke or, by his seal Commissioned proxy, his commissioner,- To test the marksmanship of Rudolf who Succeeded Kurt with marriage of his child, An heir of Kuno.-He -Great grandfather Of Ki.rt, and one this forestkeepership Was first pcssesor of; established thus- Or such the tale they told me 'round the hearths. Kuno, once in the Knight of Wippach's train, Rode on a grand hunt with the Duke, who came With vast magnificence of knights and hounds, And satin-tuniced nobles curled and plumed To hunt Thuringian deer. Then Morn too slow On her blithe feet was; quick with laughing eyes To morrow mortal eyes and lazy limbs; Rather on tip-toed hills recumbent yawned, Aroused an hour too soon; ashamed, disrobed, Rubbed the stiff sleep from eyes that still would close, While brayed the hollow horns and bayed lean hounds, And cheered gallants until the dingles dinned, Where searched the climbing mists or, compact light, Fled breathless white, clung scared a moted gray, Low uneunned cloudlands of the castled hills. DER FREISCHUTZ. And then near mid-noon from a swarthy brake The ban-dogs roused a red gigantic stag, Lashed to whose back with grinding knotted cords, Borne with whom like a nightmare's incubus, A man shrieked; burry-bearded and his hair Kinked with dry, tangled burrs, and he himself Emaciated and half naked. From The wear of wildest passage thro' the wild, Rent red by briars, torn and bruised by rocks. -For, such the law then, when the peasant chased Or slew the dun deer of his tyrant lords, As punishment the torturing withes and spine Of some big stag, a gift of game and wild Enough till death-death in the antlered herd Or crawling famine in bleak, haggard haunts. Then was the dark Duke glad, and forthwith cried To all his dewy train a rich reward For him who slew the stag and saved the man, But death to him who slew the man and stag, The careless error of a loose attempt. So crashed the hunt along wild, glimmering ways Thro' creepers and vast brush beneath gnarled trees, Up a scorched torrent's bed. Yet still refused Each that sure shot; the risk too desperate The poor life and the golden gift beside. So this young Kuno with two eyes wherein 7 7 3 DER FRTISCHUTZ. Hunt with excitement kindled reckless fire Clamored, " And are ye cowards -Good your grace, You shall not chafe !-The fiend direct my ball !" And fired into a covert deeply packed, An intertangled wall of matted night, Wherein the eve might vainly strive and strive To pierce one foot or earn one point beyond. But, ha! the hinge stag staggered from the brake Heart-hit and perished. That wan wretch unhurt Soon bondless lay condoled. But the great Duke, Charmed with the eagle shot, admired the youth, There to hiln and his heirs forever gave The forest keepership. But envious tongues Were soor. at wag; and whispered went the tale Of how the shot was free, and that the balls Used by young Kuno were free bullets, which Molded were cast in influence of the fiend By magic and directed by the fiend. Of some effect t:hese tales were and some force Had with the Duke, who lent an ear so far As to ordain Kuno's descendants all To proof of skill ere their succession to The father's office. Kurt himself hath shot The silver ring from out the popinjay's beak- A good saot he, you see, who would succeed. 74 DER FREZSCHUTZ. The Devil guards his mysteries close as God. For who can say what elementaries Demoniac lurk in desolate dells and woods Shadowy malicious vassals of that power Who signs himself, thro' these, a slave to those, Those mortals who act open with his Hell, Those only who seek secretly and woo. Of these free, fatal bullets let me speak: There may be such; our Earth hath things as strange; Then only in coarse fancies may exist; For fancy is among our peasantry A limber juggler with the weird and dark; For Superstition hides not her grim face, A skeleton grin on leprous ghastliness, From Ignorance's mossy thatches low. A cross-way, as I heard, among gaunt hills, A solitude convulsed of rocks and trees Blasted; and on the stony cross-road drawn A bloody circle with a bloody sword; Herein rude characters; a skull and thighs Fantastic fixed before a fitful fire Of spiteful coals. Eleven of the clock Cast, the first bullet leaves the mold,-the lead Mixed with three bullets that have hit their mark, Burnt blood,-the wounded Sacramental Host, Unswallowed and unhallowed, oozed when shot 75 7PER FREISCHUTZ. Fixed to a riven pine.-Ere twelve o'clock, When dwindling specters in their rotting shrouds Quit musty tombs to mumble hollow woes In Midnight's horrored ear, with never a cry, Word or weak whisper, till that hour sound, Must the iree balls be cast; and these shall be In number three and sixty; three of which Semial-he the Devil's minister- Claims for his master and stamps as his own To hit awry their mark, askew for harm. Those other sixt; shall not miss their mark. No cry, no word, no whisper, tho' there gibe Most monstrous shapes that flicker in thick mist Lewd human countenances or leer out Swoln animal fares with fair forms of men, While wide-winaed owls fan the drear, dying coals, That lick thin, slender tongues of purple fire From viperous red, and croaks the night-hawk near. No cry, no word, no whisper should there come Weeping a wandering form with weary, white And pleading countenance of her you love, Faded with tears of waiting; beckoning With gray, largl arms or censuring; her shame In dull and desolate eyes; who, if you speak Or stagger from that circle-hideous change !- Shrinks, faced a hag of million wrinkles, which 76 DER FREISCHUTZ. Ridge scaly sharpness of protruding bones, To rip you limb from limb with taloned claws. Nor be deceived if some far midnight bell Boom that anticipated hour, nor leave By one short inch the bloody orbit, for The minion varlets of Hell's majesty Expectant cirque its dim circumference. But when the hour of midnight smites, be sure You have your bullets, neither more nor less; For, if thro' fear one more or less you have, Your soul is forfeit to those agencies, Right rathe who are to rend it from the flesh. And while that hour of midnight sounds a din Of hurrying hoofs and shouting outriders- Six snorting steeds postilioned roll a stage Black and with groaning wheels of spinning fire, " Room there !-ho! ho !-who bars the mountain-way! On over him !"-but fear not nor fare forth,- 'Tis but the last trick of your bounden slave: And ere the red moon strives from dingy clouds And dives again, high the huge leaders leap Iron fore-hoofs flashing and big eyes like gledes, And, spun a spiral spark into the night, Whistling the phantom flies and fades away. Some say there comes no stage, but Hackelnburg, Wild Huntsman of the Harz, rides hoarse in storm, 7 7 DER FREISCHUTZ. Dashing the dead leaves with dark dogs of hell Direful th.o' whirling thickets, and his horn Croaks doleful as an owl's hoot while he hurls Straight 'neath ain-streaming skies of echoes, sheer Plunging the magic circle horse and hounds. And thern will c-me, plutonian clad and slim, Upon a stallion vast intensely black, Semial, Satan's lurid minister, To hail you and inform you and assure.- Enough! these wives-tales heard to what I've seen; To Amrmendorf I came; and Rudolf there With Kurt and a.ll his picturesque foresters Met me. And then the rounding year was ripe; Throbbing the re'd heart of full Autumn: When Each morning gleams crisp frost on shriveled fields; Each noon sits veiled in mysteries of mist; Each nigh. unrolls a miracle woof of stars, Where rroon-bare-bosomed goddess of the hunt- Wades calm, crushed clouds or treads the vaster blue. Then I proposed the season's hunt; till eve The test of Rucolf's skill postponed, with which Annoyed he seemed. And so it was I heard How he ar. execrable marksman was, And whispered sales of near, incredible shots That wryed the r mark, while in his flint-lock's pan Flashed of-en harmless powder, while wild game 78 DER FRE/SCHUTZ. Stared fearless on him and indulgent stood, An open butt to such wide marksmanship. Howbeit, he that day acquitted him Of these maligners' cavils; in the hunt Missing no shot however rash he made Or distant thro' thick intercepting trees; And the piled, curious game brought down of all Good marksmen of that train had not sufficed, Doubled, nay, trebled, to have matched his heap. And wonderstruck the jdgers saw, nor knew How to excuse them. My indulgence giv'n, Still swore that only yesterday old Kurt Had touched his daugh1ter's tears and Rudolf's wrath By vowing end to their betrothed love, Unless that love developed better aim Against the morrow's test; his ancestor's High fame should not be damaged. So he stormed, But bowed his gray head and wept silently; Then looking up forgave when big he saw Tears in his daughter's eyes and Rudolf gone Forth in the night that wailed with coming storm. Before this inn, The Owl, assembled came The nice-primped villagers to view the trial: Fair fruiiieins and blonde, comely, healthy fraius; Stout burgers. And among them I did mark Kurt and his daughter. He, a florid face 79 DER FREZSCHUTZ. Of pride and joy for Rudolf's strange success; She, radiant and flounced in flowing garb Of bridal white deep-draped and crowned with flowers; For Kurt insisted this their marriage eve Should R, dolf e'ome successful from the chase. So pleased was I with what I'd seen him do, The test of skill superfluous seemed and so Was on the bare brink of announcement, when, Out of the evening heaven's hardening red, Like a white warning loosed for augury, A word of God some fallen angel prized As his last all of heaven, penitent, Hell-freed, sent minister to save a soul, A wild dove clove the luminous winds and there, A wafted waif, pruned settled on a bough: Then I, "Thy weapon, Rudolph, pierce its head !" Cried pointing, "And chief-forester art thou !" Pale as a mist and wavering he turned; " I had a dream--" then faltered as he aimed, "A woman's whim !" But starting from the press Screamed ..sabe; " My dove !" to plead its life Came-cracked the rifle and untouched the dove Rose beating lustrous wings, but Ilsabe- " God's wrath! the sight! "-fell smitten, and the blood Sprang red from shattered brow and silent hair- That bullet strangely thro' her brow and brain. . .. 80 DER FREASCZIUTZ. 8I And what of Rudolf ah! of him you ask That proud Franconian who would scoff at Fate And scorn all state; who cried black Satan friend Sooner than our white Christ;-why, he went mad O' the moment, and into the haunted Harz Fled, an unholy thing, and perished there The prey of demons of the Dummburg. But I one of few less superstitious who Say, as the finale of a madman's deed, He in the Bod6, from that ragged rock, The Devil's Dancing Place, did leap and die. TO REVERY. W; tHAT ogive gates from gold of Ophir wrought, What walls of bastioned Parian, lucid rose, What marts of crystal, for the eyes of Thought 1last bui'ded on what Islands of Repose! Vague ony-c columns ranked Corinthian, Or piled Ionic, colonnading heights That loom above long burst of mythic seas: Vast gynaeceums of carnelian; Micaceous temples, far marmorean flights, Where winds the arabesque and plastique frieze. Where bulbous domes of coruscating ore Cloud--iike convulsive sunsets--lands that dream, Myrih-fragi-ant, over siren seas and hoar, Dashed with stiff, breezy foam of ocean's stream. Temp-stuo'is architecture-revelries; Built meodies of marble or clear glass; Effulgent sculptures chiseled out of thought In misty attitudes, whose majesties Feed fuli the pleasure as those beauties pass To pal extinctions which are beauty fraught. TO RE VERR Y On rebeck and on rose in plinths of spars, On glimmering solitudes of flower and stone, A twilight-glow swoons settled, burned with stars, Deep violet dusk developing nor done. Where float fair nacreous shapes like deities,- Existences of glory musical,- [gold, 'Round whose warm hair twist fillets' coiling Their limbs Olympian lovely, and their eyes Dark oblique fervors; and most languorous tall In woven white with girdling gold threefold. There darkling the consummate vintage sleeps,- Lethe-nepenthes for Earth-agony,- In sealed amphorae some Sybil keeps, World-old, forever cellared secretly. A wvine of Xeres or of Syracuse A fierce Falernian -Ah! no vile Sabine !- A stol'n ambrosia of what olden god Whose bubbled rubies maiden feet did bruise From crusted vaits of vintage rich, I ween, Vivacious purple of some Samian sod. Olh, for the cold conclusion of one draught! Elysian ecstacy of classic earth !- [laughed Where heroes warred with gods and where gods In eyes of mortal brown, a lusty mirth 83 TO RE VER Y Of deity delirious with desire: Where danced the sacrifice to horned shrines, And splashed the full libation blue as blood.-- Oh, to be Grunk with dreaming! to inspire The very soul of beauty whence it shines Too lcst for utterance yet understood! In cogitation of what verdurous shades, Dull-droning quietudes where wild-bees lolled Suck, lulled in pulpy lilies of the glades, Barbaric- smothered with the kerneled gold: Teas. d by Some torso of the golden age, Nude breasts of Cytherea, famous fair, Uncestus'd, yet suggestive of what loves Immortal! yearn enamoured; or to rage With sun-burnt Poesy whose throat breathes bare O'er leopard skins and flute among her groves. 84 LATE OCTOBER. A H, haughty hills, sardonic solitudes, What wizard touch hath, crowning you with gold, Cast Tyrian purple o'er broad-shouldered woods, And to your pride anointed empire sold For wan traditioned death, whose misty moods Shake each huge throne of quarried shadows cold Now where the agate-foliaged forests sleep, Bleak briars are ruby-berried, and the brush Flames-when the winds armsful of motion heap In wincing gusts upon it-amber blush; The beech an inner beryle breaks from deep Encrusting topaz of a sullen flush. Dead gold, dead bronze, dull amethystine rose, Rose cameo, in day's gray, somber spar Of smoky quartz-intaglioed beauty-glows Luxuriance of color. Trunks that are Vast organs antheming the winds' wild woes A faded sun and pale night's paler star. LATE OCTOBER. Bulged from its cup the dark-brown acorn falls, And by its gnarly saucer in the streams Swells piumped; and here the spikey spruce-gum balls Rust maces of an ouphen host that dreams; Beneath tie chestnut the split burry hulls Disgorge fat T)urses of sleek satin gleams. 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 thro' his beard,-the brusque Crab apples laugh, wind-tumbled from above. Runs thro' the wasted leaves the crickets' click, Which saddest coignes of Melancholy cheers; One bird unto tle sumach flits to pick Red, sour seeds; and thro' the woods one hears The drop of gummy walnuts; the railed rick Looms tawny in the field where low the steers. Some slim bud-bound Leimoniad hath flocked, The birds to Echo's shores, where flossy foams Boom low long cream-white cliffs.-Where once buzzed Unmillij)ned bees within unmillioned blooms, [rocked One hairy hummer cramps one bloom, frost mocked,- A mise whose rich hives squeeze oozing combs. 86 LATE OCTOBER. 87 Twist some lithe maple and right suddenly A leafy storm of stars about you breaks- Some Hamadryad's tears: Unto her knee Wading the Naiad clears her brook that streaks Thro' wadded waifs: [lark! Pan for Helike Flutes melancholy by the minty creeks. AN ANEMONE. "T EACH me the wisdom of thy beauty, pray, That, being thus wise, I may aspire to see What beauty is, whence, why, and in what way Immortal, yet how mortal utterly: For, shrinking loveliness, thy brow of day Pleads plaintive as a prayer, anemone. "Teach me wood-wisdom, I am petulant: Thou hast the wildness of a Dryad's eyes, The shyness of an Oread's, wild plant:- BeholHd the bashful goddess where she lies Distinctly delicate !-inhabitant Ambrosial-earthed, star-cousin of the skies. "Teach me thy wisdom, for, thro' knowing, yet, When I have drunk dull Lethe till each vein Thuds fuil oblivion, I shall not forget;- For beauty known is beauty; to sustain Glad memories with life, while mad regret And sorrow perish, being Lethe slain." AN ANEMONE. 89 " Teach thee my beauty being beautiful And beauty wise -My slight perfections, whole As world, as man, in their creation full As old a Power's cogitation roll. Teach thee -Presumption! thought is young and dull- Question thy God what God is, soul what soul." 8 89 'I HE RAIN-CROW. THEE freckled August, dozing hot and blonde Oft neath a wheat-stack in the white-topped mead- In her full hair brown ox-eyed daisies wound- O water-gurgier, lends a sleepy heed: Half-lidded e-yes a purple iron-weed Blows sl.mly o'er; beyond, a path-found pond [grasses, Basks flint-bright, hedged with pink-plumed pepper- A coig-qe for ,ainest dragonflies, which glasses Their blue in diamond. Oft from some dusty locust, that thick weaves With crescent pulse-pods its thin foliage gray, Thou,-o'er the shambling lane, which past the sheaves Of sun-tanned oats winds, red with rutty clay, One league of rude rail-fence,-some panting day, When each parched meadow quivering vapor grieves, Nature's Astrologist, dost promise rain, In seeping language of the thirsty plain, Cool from the burning leaves. THE RAIX-CROW 9. And, in good faith, aye! best of faith, art true; And welcome that rune-chuckled forecasting, When up the faded fierceness of scorched blue Strong water-carrier winds big buckets bring, Black with stored freshness: how their dippers ring And flash and rattle! lavishing large dew On tall, good-humored corn that, streaming wet, Laughs long; while woods and leas, shut in a net Of mist, dream vague in view. And thou, safe-housed in some pawpaw bower Of close, broad, gold-green leaves, contented art In thy prediction, fall'n within the hour; While fuss the brown bees hiveward from the heart Of honey-filtering bloom; beneath the cart Droop pompous barnyard cocks damped by the shower: And deep-eyed August, bonnetless, a beech Hugs in disheveled beauty, safe from reach On starry moss and flower. 9 I I 0 V [F I, I N ESS. I. W;\ THEN I fare forth to kiss the eyes of Spring, On ways, which arch gold sunbeams and pearl Embraced, two whispers we search-wandering [buds, By goblin forests and by girlish floods Deep in the hermit-holy solitudes- For stalwart Dryads romping in a ring; Firm limbs -an oak-bark-brown, and hair-wild woods Have perfumed-loops of radiance; and they, Most coyly pleasant, as we linger by, Pout dimpled cheeks, more rose than rosiest sky, Honeyed; and us good-hearted laughter fling Like far-out reefs that flute melodious spray. II. Then we surprise each Naiad ere she slips- Nude at her toilette-in her fountain's glass, With damp locks dewy, and large godlike hips Cool-glitteririg; but discovered, when-alas! From. green, indented moss and plushy grass,- LO VELINESSS. Her great eyes' pansy-black reproaching,-dips She white the cloven waters ere we pass: And a broad, orbing ripple makes to hide From our desirous gaze provoked what path She gleaming took; what haunt she bashful hath In minnowy freshness, where her murmurous lips Bubbling make merry 'neath the rocky tide. III. Oft do we meet the Oread whose eyes Are dew-drops where twin heavens shine confessed; She, all the maiden modesty's surprise Blushing her temples,-to deep loins and breast Temnpestuous, brown bewildering tresses pressed,- Stands one scared moment's moiety, in wise Of some delicious dream, then shrinks distressed, Like some weak wind that, haply heard, is gone, In rapport with shy Silence to make sound; So, like storm sunlight, bares clean limbs to bound A thistle's flashing to a woody rise, A graceful glimmer up the ferny lawn. IV. Hear Satyrs and Sylvanus in sad shades Of dozy dells pipe: Pan and Fauns hark dance With rattling hoofs dim in low, mottled glades: Hidden in spice-bush-bowered banks, perchance, Mark Slyness waiting with an animal glance 93 94 L 0 VELINESS. The advent of some Innocence, who wades Thro' thigh-deep flowers, naked as Romance, In braided shaeows, when two hairy arms Hug her unconscious beauty panting white; Till tearful terror, struggling into might, Beats the brute brow resisting; yields and fades, Exhausted, to the grim Lust her rich charms. THE LAST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. Ycart 13- B ARBICAN, bartizan, battlement With the Abergavenny mountains blent, Look, from the Raglan tower of Gwent, My lord Hugh Clifford's ancient home Shows, clear morns of the Spring or Summer, Thrust out like thin flakes o' a silver foam From a climbing cloud, for the hills gloom glummer, Being shaggy with heath, yon.-I was his page; A favorite then; and he of that age When a man will love and be loved again, Or die in the wars or a monastery: Or toil till he stifle his heart's hard pain, Or drink, drug his hopes and his lost love bury. I was his page; and often we fared Thro' the Clare desmene in Autumn hawking- If the baron had known how he would have glared From their bushy brows eyes dark with mocking! 96 THE LA.ST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. -That last ol the Strongbows, Richard, I mean- Had growled to his yeomen, " A score! mount, Keene! Forth and spit me this Clifford, or hang With his crop-eared page to the closest oak!" For he and the Cliffords had ever a fang In the other's side, . . . but I see him choke And stranglk with wrath when his hawker told- If he told !-how we met on that flowery wold His daughter, sweet Hortense of Clare, the day Her hooded tiercel its brails did burst To trait with its galling jesses away; An unt-ainecu haggard the falconer cursed, Vain whistlei to lure; when the eyas sped Slant, low and heavily overhead By us: and Sir Hugh,-who had just then cast His peregrine fierce at a heron-quarry,- In his stirrups rising, thus-as it passed, By the jesse.; caught and to her did carry, Lingering slender and tall by a rose Whence she pulled the berries-But no two foes Her eves and Sir Hugh's !-And I swear each felt A song in their hearts !-For I heard him quaver Somewhat aad then-by Mary!-he knelt !- And the Lady herself in her words did waver And. wonder with smiles. Then daintily took The hawk on her fist where it pruned and shook THE LAST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. 97 Its callowness ragged, as Hugh did seize Softly the other hand long and white,- Reached forth to him craving him rise from his knees,- And mouthed with moist kisses an hundred quite. Tho' she blushed up burning, no frowned " Beware !" But seemed so happy! when crushing thro'- Her sturdy retainer with swarthy stare- The underwoods burst; and her maiden crew Drew near them naming her name, and came With leaves and dim Autumn blossoms aflame.- " Their words " I know not! for how should I- I paged my master but was no spy. Nothings, I think, as all lovers', you know; Yet how should I hear such whispered low, Quick by the wasted woodland yellow When up thro' the brush thrashed that burly fellow With his ale-coarse face, and so made a pause In the pulse of their words, there my lord Sir Hugh Stood with the soil on his knee: No cause Had he-but his hanger he halfway drew- Then paused, thrust it clap in its sheath again And bowed to the Lady and strode away; Up, vault, on his steed-and we rode amain Gay to his towers that merry day. He loved and was loved,-why, I knew !-for look, All other sports for the chase he forsook; 9 98 THE: LAST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. To ride in the Raglan marches and hawk And te hunt and to wander. And found a lair, In the Strongbow forest, of bush and of rock, Of moss and thick ferns; where Hortense of Clare, How often I wis not, met him by chance- Perhaps !-Sweet sorceress out of romance, Those tomes of Geoffrey-for she was fair! Her large, warm eyes and hair, . . . ah, hair, How may one picture or liken it! With the golden gloss of its full brown, fit For the Viviane face of lovable white Beneath;-like a star that a cloud of night Stops over tc threaten but never will drench Its tremulous beauty with mists that quench.- Heigho !-but they ceased, those meetings. I wot Watched of the baron, his menial crew; For she loved too well to have once forgot The place and the time of their trysting true. But sie came not-ah! and again came not: " Why and when " would question Sir Hugh In his labored scrawls a crevice of rock- The 'lovers' post-in its coigne would lock. Until near Yule Love gat them again A twilight tryst-by frowardness sure.- They met. And that day was gray with rain- THE LAST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. 99 Or snow, and the wind did ever endure A long, bleak moaning thorough the wood, Smarted the cheek and chapped i' the blood; And a burne in the forest cried "sob and sob," And whimpered forever a chopping throb Thro' the rope-taunt boughs like a thing pursued. -And there it was that he learned how she (My faith! how it makes me burn and quiver To think what a miserable despot he- Lord Richard Strongbow, aye and ever To his daughter was!) forsooth! must wed With an Eastern Earl-some Lovell: one whom (That God in His mercy had smote him dead!) Hortense of Clare-but in baby bloom- Never had mirrored with maiden eyes. Sealed over a baby to strengthen some ties- Of power or wealth-had been bartered then And sold and purchased, and now . . . but when To her lover, the Clifford, she told this-there He had faced with his love the talons of Death- Only for her, who did stay with a stare Of reproach all his heat and say in a breath, " Is love, that thou sware to me aye and so often, To live too feeble or-how -doth it soften And weaken away and-to die -why die - Live and be strong! and this is why."- xoo THE LAST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. Her words are glued here so! . . . I remember All as well as that sullen December, That blustered anOc bullied about them and Spat stiff its spiteful and cold-cutting snow Where they talked. there dreamily hand in hand, While the rubbing boughs clashed rattling low. Her last wo ds these, " By curfew sure On Christmas eve at the postern door." And we were there, and a void horse too: Armed: for a journey I hardly knew Whither, but why you well can guess. I could have uttered a certain name- Our comrade's sure-of what loveliness ! Waited with love, impatience aflame. While Raglan buiged its baronial girth To roar to its battlements Yule and song; Retainers 'oud rcllicked in wassail and mirth Where the mistletoe 'round the vast hearths hung, And holly beberried the elden wall Of curious oak in the banqueting hall. And the spits, I trow, by the scullions turned O'er the snoring logs, rich steamed and burned With flesh; where the whole wild-boar was roasted And the dtn-deer flanks and the roebuck haunches; Fat tuns f ale, that the cellars boasted, THE LAST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. 1OI Old casks of wine were broached for paunches Of the vassals that reveled in bower and stall; Pale pages who diced and bluff henchmen who quarr'led Or swore in their cups, while lean mastiffs all, O'er bones of the feast in their kennels snarled; For Hortense-drink! drink !-by the Virgin's leave, Were wed to this Lovell this Christmas Eve. "Was she long-Did she come " . . . By that post- ern we Like shadows lurked. Said my lord Sir Hugh: "Yon tower, remember !-that casement, see!- When a stealthy light in its slit burns blue And signals thrice slowly, thus-'tis she." And about his person his gaberdine drew, For the wind it hugged and the snow beat thro'. Did she come -We had watched for an hour or twain Ere that light burned there in the central pane And was flourished thrice and departed so. Then closer we packed to the postern portal Horses and all in the stinging snow. Stiff with the cold was I.-Immortal Minutes we waited breath-bated and listened Shuddering there in the gusty gale. Whizzing o'er parapets sifted and glistened Wild drift, thro' battlements hissed in a veil. 102 THE LAST S,'JON OF T'HE HOUSE OF CLARE. Quoth my lord Sit Hugh, for his love was a-heat, " She feels for the spring in the hidden panel 'Neath the tapestry.... ah ! thou hast pressed it, sweet! -How bla-k gulps open the secret channel! Now cautiously step, and thy bridal garb Swirled warm with a mantle o' fur. . . . she plants One foot-then a pause-on the stair-So, Barb, So !-If the tempest that barks and pants Would throttle itself with its yelps! then I Might hear but one footstep echo and sing Down the ugly. . . . there ! 'tis her fingers try The massy bolts which the rust makes cling." But ever some whim of the wind that shook The clanging ring of a creaking hook In the buttress or wall; and we waited so Till the East grew gray. Did she come -ah, no! I must tell you wily, and enough: 'Tis said On the eve of the marriage she fled the side Of the baror, the bridegroom too she fled, With a mischievc-us laugh, "I 'll hide! I'/M hide! Seek! and be surt to seek well !" and led A wild chase after her, but defied All search for-a score and ten more years, And the laughter of Yule was changed to tears. [glare But they scarched and the snow was bleared with the THE LAST SCION OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. 103 Of torches that hurried thro' chamber and stair; And tower and court re-echoed her name, But she laughed no answer and never came. So over the channel to France with his King And the Black Prince, sailed to the wars-to deaden The ache of the mystery-Hugh that Spring, And fell at Poitiers: for his loss lay leaden On hope, and his life was a weary sadness, So he flung it away with a very gladness. And the baron died-and the bridegroom, well,- Unlucky that bridegroom, sooth !-to tell Of him there is nothing. The baron died; The last of the Strongbows he, gramercy! And the Clare estate with its wealth and its pride Devolved to the Bloets, Walter or Percy. Ten years and a score thereafter. And they Ransacked the old castle and mark !-one day In a lonesome tower uprummaged a chest From Flanders, of sinister ebon, carved Sardonic with masks 'round an olden crest, Gargoyle faces distorted and starved: Fast fixed with a spring which they forced and lo! When they opened it-ha, Hortense !-or, no!- Fantastic a skeleton jeweled and wreathed 104 THE LAST SCIOAN OF THE HOUSE OF CLARE. With flowers of dust, and a minever About it hugged, which quaint richness sheathed Of a bridal raimen,. and lace with fur. -I'd have given such years of my life-yes, well !- As were left me then so her lover, Hugh, For such time breathed as it took one to tell How she forever, deemed false, was true ! He'd have known how it was, " For, you see, in groping For the puny spring of that panel-hoping And fearing as nearer and nearer grew The boisterous scramble-why, out she blew Her windy taper aid quick-in this chest Wary would le for-a minute, mayhap, Till the hurry all passed; but the death-lock pressed -Ere her heart wa3 aware-with a hungry snap." ON TIHE JELLICO-SPUR. To MY FRIEND, JOHN Fox, JR. yOU remember, the deep mist,- Climbing to the Devil's Den- Blue beneath us in the glen And above us amethyst, Throbbed and circled and away Thro' the wild-woods opposite, Torn and shattered, morning-lit, Scurried up a dewy gray. Vague as in Romance we saw From the fog one riven trunk, Its huge horny talons shrunk, Thrust a hungry dragon's claw. And we climbed two hours thro' The dawn-dripping Jellicoes, To that wooded rock that shows Undulating peaks of blue: The vast Cumberlands that sleep, Weighed with soaring forests, far To the concave welkin's bar, ON THE JELLICO-SPUR. Leagues on leagues of purple sweep. Range exalted over range Billowed their enormous spines, SAnd we heard the priestly pines Hum the vwisdom of their change. We were sons of Nature then; She had taken us to her, Closer drawn by brier and burr, There on lonely Devil's Den. We were pupils of her moods: Taught the beauties of her loins L.i those bloom-anointed coignes,-- Love in her eternal woods: How she bore or flower or bud; Pithed the wiry sapling-oak; In the long vine zeal awoke Aye to climb a leafy flood. Her waste fantasies of birth: Sponge-like exudations fair- Dainty fungi everywhere Bulging from the loamy earth. Coral-vegetable things; Crystals clamily exhaled; Bulbous, marble-ribbed and scaled, Vip'rous colored; then close rings Of the Indan Pipe that cleft io6 ON THE JELLICO-SPUR. Pink and white the woodland lax,- Blossoms of a natural wax The brown mountain-fairies left. We on that parched precipice, Stretched beneath the chestnuts' burrs, Breathed the balsam of the firs, Felt the blue sky like a kiss. Soft that heaven; stainless as The grand woodlands lunging on, Wound majestic in the sun, Or as our devotion was! Freedom sat there cragged we saw, Freedom whom hoarse forests sang; Heaven-browed her eyes, whence sprang Audience august with law. Wildernesses, from her hips Sprung the giant forests there, Tossed the cataracts from her hair, Thunders lightened from her lips. Oft some scavenger, with vane Motionless, above we knew Wheeled thro' altitudes of blue By his rapid shadow's stain. Or some cloud of sunny white,- Puffed a lazy drift of pearl,- Balmy breezes o'er would whirl 107 OAN THE JELLICO-SPUR. Sn ot with coruscating light. So we dreamed an hour upon Those warm rocks, dry, lichen-scabbed. Lounged beneath long leaves that dabbed At us cojns of shade and sun. Then arose and down some gorge Made - bowldered torrent broad The hurled pathway of our road Tumbled down the mountait. large. At that farm-house, which you know, Where old-fashioned flowers spun Gay rag-carpets in the sun, By green apple-boughs built low, Rested frem our hot descent; One deep draught of cider cool, UJnctuoas, our fierce veins to dull At old Hix's eloquent. ... On Wolf Mountain died the light; A colossal blossom, rayed With re-it petaled clouds that played 'Round a calyxed fury bright. Down the moist mint-scented vale To the mining camp we turned, Tiiro' the twilight faint discerned With its crowded cabins pale. Ah! those nights !-We wandered forth io8 ON TILE JELLICO-SPUR. On some shadow-haunted path When the moon was late and rathe The large stars; sowed south and north, Clustered bursting heavens down: And the milky zodiac, Rolled athwart the belted black, Myriad-million-moted shone. And in dreams we sauntered till In the valley pale beneath, From a dew-drop's vapored breath To faint ghosts, there gathered still, Grave creations weird of mist: Then we knew the moonrise near, As with necromance the air Pulsed to pearl and amethyst. Shrilled the insects of the dusk, Grated, buzzed and strident sung Till each leaf seemed tuned and strung For high Pixy music brusque. Stealing steps and stealthy sighs As of near unhallowed things, Rustled hair or fluttered wings, Seemed about us; then the eyes Of plumed phantom warriors Burned mesmeric from some bush Mournful in the goblin hush, log ON THE JELLICO-SPUR. Then materialized to stars. Mantled mists like ambushed braves, Chiefed by some swart Blackfoot tall, Stole along each forest wall- Phosphorescent moony waves. Then the mcon rose; from some cup Each hill's bowl,-magnetic shine, Mist and silence poured like wine,- Brimmed a monster goblet up. Ingot from lest orient mines, Delved by humpbacked gnomes of Night, Full her orb loomed, nacreous white, O'er Pine Mountain's druid pines. As thro' fragmentary fleece Her circumference polished broke, Orey-seamed, about us woke Myths of Italy and Greece. Then--a chanison serenade- You, rich-voiced, to your guitar To our goddess in that star Sang "Ne Teinpo" from the glade. I I O SENORITA. AN agate black thy roguish eyes A Claim no proud lineage of skies, No velvet blue, but of sweet Earth, Rude, reckless witchery and mirth. Looped in thy raven hair's repose, A hot aroma, one tame rose Dies envious of that beauty where,- By being near which,-it is fair. Thy ears,-two dainty bits of song Of unpretending charm, which wrong Would jewels rich, whose restless fire Courts coarse attention,-such inspire. Slim hands, that crumple listless lace About thy white breasts' swelling grace, And falter at thy samite throat, To such harmonious efforts float. Seven stars stop o'er thy balcony Cored in taunt heaven's canopy; No moon flows up the satin night In pearl-pierced raiment spun of light. 112 SEORITA. From orange orchards dark in dew Vague, odorous lips the West wind blew, Or thou, a new Angelica From Ariosto, breath'd'st Cathay. Oi, stoop to me and speaking reach My soui like song, that learned low speech From some sad instrument, who knows Or bloomn,-a dulcimer or rose. LEANDER TO HERO. I. BROWS wan thro' blue-black tresses Wet with sharp rain and kisses; Locks loose the sea-wind scatters, Like torn wings fierce for flight; Cold brows, whose sadness flatters, One kiss and then-good-night. II. Can this thy love undo me When in the heavy waves Nay; it must make unto me Their groaning backs but slaves! For its magic doth indue me With strength o'er all their graves. III. Weep not as heavy-hearted Before I go! For thou Wilt follow as we parted- A something hollow-hearted, I0 LEA4DER TO HERO. Dark eyes whence cold tears started, Gray, ghostly arms out-darted To take me, even as now, To drag me, their weak lover, Tc caves where sirens hover, Deep caves the dark waves cover, Down' throat and hair and brow. IV. But in thy sleep shalt follow- Thy bcsom fierce to mine, Long arnms wound warm and hollow,- In sleep, in sleep shalt follow,- To save me from the brine; rim eyes on mine divine; Deep breath at mine like wine; Swve-t thou, with dream-soft kisses To dream me onward home, W'iite in white foam that hisses, Love's creature safe in foam. V. What, Hero, else for weeping Than long, lost hours of sleeping And vestal-vestured Dreams, Where thy Leander stooping 11 4 LEANDER TO HERO. Sighs; no dead eyelids drooping; No harsh, hard looks accusing; No curls with ocean oozing; But then as now he seems, Sweet-favored as can make him Thy smile, which is a might, A hope, a god to take him Thro' all this hell of night. VI. Then where thy breasts are hollow One kiss! one kiss! I go! Swveet soul ! a kiss to follow Up whence thy breasts bud hollow, Cheeks than wood-blossoms whiter, Eyes than dark waters brighter Wherein the far stars glow. Look lovely when I leave thee !- I go, my love, I go! Look lovely, love, nor grieve thee, That I must leave thee so. I I5 M USAGETES. FOR the mountains' hoarse greetings came hollow From stormy wind-chasms and caves, And I heard their wild cataracts wallow Huge bullks in long spasms of waves, And that Demon said, "Lo! you must follow! And our pith is o'er myriads of graves." Then I felt that the black earth was porous And rotten with worms and with bones; And I knew t-hat the ground that now bore us Was cadaverous with Death's skeletons; And I saw horrid eyes, heard sonorous And dolorous 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,-smoulders and sighs, And the laughter of stars and their wonder Mingled and mixed in its eyes. MUSAGETES. 117 And we clomb-and the moon old and sterile Clomb with us o'er torrent and scar! And I yearned towards her oceans of beryl, Wan mountains and cities of spar- "'Tis not well," that one said, "you're in peril Of falling and failing your star." And we clomb-through a murmur of pinions, Thin rattle of talons and plumes; And a sense as of Boreal dominions Clove down to the abysms and tombs; And the Night's naked, Ethiope minions Swarmed on us in legions of glooms. And we clomb-till we stood at the portal Of the uttermost point of the peak, And it led with a step more than mortal Far upward some presence to seek; And I felt that this love was immortal, This love which had made me so weak. We had clomb till the limbo of spirits Of darkness and crime deep below Swung nebular; nor could we hear its Lost wailings and moanings of woe,- For we stood in a realm that inherits A vanquishing virgin of snow. THE QUARREL. C OULD I divine how her gray eyes Gat such cold haughtiness of skies; How, some wood-flower's shadow brown, Dimmed Ler fair forehead's wrath a frown; HGw, rippled sunshine blown thro' air, Tossed scorn her eloquence of hair; How to a folded bud again She drew her blossomed lips' disdain; Naught deigning save eyes' utterance, Star-words, which quicker reach the sense; Thern, afterwards, how melted there The austere woman to one tear; Then were j wise to know how grew This star-stained miracle of blue, How God makes wild flowers out of dew, THE MOOD O' THE EARTH. MY heart is high, is high, my dear, And the warm wind sunnily blows; My heart is high with a mood that's cheer, And burns like a sun-blown rose. My heart is high, is high, my dear, And the Heaven's deep skies are blue; My heart is high as the passionate year, And smiles like a bud in dew. My heart, my heart is high, my sweet, For wild is the smell o' the wood, That gusts in the breeze with a pulse o' heat, Mad heat that beats like a blood. My heart, my heart is high, my sweet, And the sense of summer is full; A sense of summer,-full fields of wheat, Full forests and waters cool. TET E MOOD O' THE EARTH. My heart is high, is high, my heart, As the bee's that groans and swinks In the dabbled flowers that dart and part To his woolly bulk when he drinks. My heart is high, is high, my heart,- Oh, 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! Flow oie with the running wind; And the stars that stare I swear, my dear, Right soon in my hair I'll 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! Or to cre p and to suck like an elfin thing To the aching heart of a rose; In the harebell'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 forth golden from feet to chin In the god-flower's Danae shower! I120 THE MOOD O' THE EARTH. Or free, full-throated curve back the throat With a vigorous look at the blue, And sing right staunch with a lusty note Like the hawk hurled where he flew! God's life! the blood of the Earth is mine! And the mood of the Earth I'll take, And brim my soul with her wonderful wine, And sing till my heart doth break! I I I 2 I A GRAY DAY. I. L ONG vollies of wind and of rain j And the rain on the drizzled pane, And the eve falls chill and murk; But on yesterday's eve I know How a aorned moon's thorn-like bow Stabbed rosy thro' gold and thro' glow, Like a rich barbaric dirk. II. Now thick throats of the snapdragons,- Who hold in their hues cool dawns, Which a healthy yellow paints,- Are filled with a sweet rain fine Of a ja inty, jubilant shine, A faery vat of rare wine, Which the honey thinly taints. A GRA Y DAYY III. Now dabble the poppies shrink, And the coxcomb and the pink; While the candytuft's damp crown Droops dribbled, low bowed i' the wet; And long spikes o' the mignonette Little musk-sacks open set, Which the dripping o' dew drags down. IV. Stretched taunt on the blades of grass, Like a gossamer-fibered glass, Which 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 Up high as the clambering rose, How that tiger-moth is pressed To the wide leaf's underside.- And I know where the red wasps hide, And the wild bees,-who defied The first strong gusts,-distressed. 12 3 A GRA Y DA Y. VI. Yz-t I feel that the gray will blow Aside fcr an afterglow; And a breeze 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. VII. And then for a minute, may be,- A pearl-hollow worn-of the sea,- A glimmer of moon will smile; Cool sta's rinsed clean on the dusk, A freshness of gathering musk O'er the showery lawns, as brusk As spice from an Indian isle. I 2 4 CARMEN. LA Gi/anilZa! tall dragoons 1 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 your mantilla, half thrown back, Discovered shoulders and bold breast Bohemian brown: and you were dressed- In some short skirt of gipsy red Of smuggled stuff; thence stockings dead White silk exposed with many a hole Thro' which your plump legs roguish stole A fleshly look: and tiny toes In red morocco shoes with bows Of scarlet ribbons. Daintily CARMECN. You walked by me and I did see Your oblique eyes, your sensuous lip, That gnawed the rose you once did flip At bashful Jose's nose while loud Laughed the guant guards among the crowd. And, in your brazen chemise thrust, Heaved with rhe swelling of your bust, That bunch of white acacia blooms Whiffed past rmy nostrils hot perfumes. As in a cool eveiia I ate an ice w th M6rimee, Dark Carmen:-ita, you passed gay, All holiday bedizen6d, A new mantiPa on your head; A crimson dress bespangled fierce; And crescent gold, hung in your ears, Shone wrought Morisco; and each shoe Cordoian leather, spangled blue, Glanced merriment; and from large arms To well-turnecd ancles all your charms Blew flutterings and glitterings Of satin bands and beaded strings; And 'round each arm's fair thigh one fold, And gra eful wrists, a twisted gold Coiled serpents, tails fixed in the head, Convulsive-jeweled glossy red. I 26 CARMEN. In flowers and trimmings to the jar Of mandolin and low guitar You in the grated patio Danced; the curled coxcombs' flirting row Rang pleased applause. I saw you dance, With wily motion and glad glance Voluptuous, the wild romaiis, Where every movement was a kiss Of elegance delicious, wound In your Basque tambourine's dull sound. Or as the ebon castanets Clucked out dry time in unctuous jets, Saw angry Jose thro' 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. 12 7 DISENCHANTMENT OF DEATH. HTUSH! She is diead! Tread gently as the light Foot,3 dim the weary room. Thou shalt behold. Look:-In death's ermine pomp of awful white, Pale passion of pulseless slumber virgin cold: Bold, beautiful youth proud as heroic Might- Death! and how death hath made it vastly old. Old earth sh'.! is now: energy of birth Glad wings hath fledged and tried them suddenly; The eyes that held have freed their narrow mirth; Their sparks of spirit, which made this to be, Shine fixed in rarer jewels not of earth, Far Fairylands beyond some silent sea. A sod is this whence what were once those eyes Will grow blue wiid-flowers in what happy air; Some weed with flossy blossoms will surprise, Haply, what summer with her affluent hair; Blush roses bask those cheeks; and the wise skies Will know her dryad to what young oak fair. DISENCHANTMENT OF DEA TH. The chastity of death hath touched her so, No dreams of life can reach her in such rest;- No dreams the mind exhausted here below, Sleep built within the romance of her breast. How she will sleep! like musick quickening slow Dark the dead germs, to golden life caressed. Low musick, thin as winds that lyre the grass, Smiting thro' red roots harpings; and the sound Of elfin revels when the wild dews glass Globes of concentric beauty on the ground; For showery clouds o'er tepid nights that pass The prayer in harebells and faint foxgloves crowned. So, if she's dead, thou know'st she is not dead. Disturb her not; she lies so lost in sleep: The too-contracted soul its shell hath fled: Her presence drifts about us and the deep Is yet unvoyaged and she smiles o'erhead:- Weep not nor sigh-thou wouldst not have her weep To principles of passsion and of pride, To trophied circumstance and specious law, Stale saws of life, with scorn now flung aside, From Mercy's throne and Justice would'st thou draw Her, Hope in Hope, and Chastity's pale bride, In holiest love of holy, without flaw I2 9 0 DISENCHANTMENT OF DEATH. The anguish of the living merciless,- Mad, bitter cruelty unto the grave,- Wrings the dear dead with tenfold heart's distress, Earth chaining Love, bound by the lips that rave. If thou hast sorrow let thy sorrow bless That power of dath, of death our selfless slave. "Unjust "--He is not! for hast thou not all, All that thou ever hadst when this dull clay So heartless. blasted now, flushed spiritual, A restless vassal of Earth's night and day This hath been thine and is; the cosmic call Hath di!-enchanted that which might not stay. Thou unjust !-bar not from its high estate,- Won with what toil thro' devastating cares: What bootl!ss bat ling with the violent Fate; What mailed endeavor with resistless years;- That soul :-whole-hearted granted once thy mate, Heaven only loaned, return it not with tears! I130 THE THREE URGANDAS. CAST on sleep there came to me Three Urgandas; and the sea In lost lands of Briogne Sounded moaning, moaning: Cloudy clad in awful white; And each face a lucid light Rayed and blossomed out of night,- And a wind was groaning. In my sleep I saw them rest, Each a long hand at her breast, A soft flame that lulls the West;- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- Hair like hoarded ingots rolled Down white shoulders glossy gold, Streaks of molten moonlight cold,- And a wind was groaning. Rosy 'round each high brow bent Four-fold starry gold that sent Barbs of fire redolent;- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- 'Neath their burning crowns their eyes Burned like southern stars the skies Rock in shattered storm that flies,- And a wind was groaning. TE3TE THREE URGANDAS. Wisdom's eyes of lurid dark; And each red mouth like a spark Flashed and laughed off care and cark,- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- Mouths fcr song and lips to kiss; Lips for hate and mouths to hiss; Lips that fashioned hell or bliss,- And the wind was groaning. Tall as stately virgins dead, Tapers lit at feet and head, 'Round whom Latin prayers are said,- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- Or -,s vampire women, who, Buried beauties, rise and woo Youths whose blood they suck like dew,- And a wind was groaning. Then the west one said to me: "Thou hast slept thus holily Whie seven sands ran secretly."- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- "Earth hath served thee like a slave, Serving us who found thee brave, Fearless of or life or grave."- And a wind was groaning. 132 THE THREE URGANDAS. Know !"-she smote my brow; a pain, Riddling arrows, rent my brain, Ceased and earth fell, some vast strain;- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- Then I understood all thought; What was life the spirit fraught; Love and hate; how worlds were wrought:- And a wind was groaning. Then the east one said to me: Thou hast wandered wearily By what mist-enveloped sea!"- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- "Know the things thou hast not seen; Life and law, and love and teen; Things that be and have not been."- And the wind was groaning. "See !" her voice sung like a lyre Throbs of thunderous desire; Then the iron sight like fire- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- Burst; the inner eyelids, which Husked clairvoyance, with a twitch Rose-and I with light was rich;- And a wind was groaning. 133 THIE THREE URGANDAS. Then I saw the eyes of Sleep; Nerves of Life and veins that leap; Laws of entity; the deep:- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- Orbs -nd eons; springs of Power; Circumstance-blown like a flower;- Time--the second of an hour:- Ard the wind was groaning. To the central third one's full Balanced being beautiful Heart, to hearken, made a lull,- And the sea was moaning, moaning;- As she sternly stooped to me: Thou dost know and thou canst see; Whait thou art arise and be 1"- And the wind was groaning. To my mouth hot lips she pressed; And my fanished soul, thrice blessed, Quaffed her radiance and caressed:- And vague seas were moaning, moaning:- Mounted; star-vibrating fled; Soared to love, with her who said: Thou dost live and thou art dead."- Far off winds were groaning. '34 THE BRUSH SPARROW. I. ERE 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 slick hickory or larch, Sighed o'er the sodden meads of March, The sad heart thrills and reddens warm To hear thee braving the rough storm, Frail courier of green-gathering powers,- Rebelling sap in trunks and flowers; Love's minister come heralding; o sweet saint-voice among bleak bowers !- Thou brown-red pursuivant of Spring ! II. "Moan " sob the woodland cascades still Down bloomless ledges of the hill; And gray, gaunt clouds like harpies hang THE BRUSH SPARROW. In harpy heavens, and swoop and clang Sh-rp beaks and talons of the wind: Black scowl the forests, and unkind The far fields as the near; while song See'ms m irdered and all passion, wrong. One wild frog only in the thaw Of spawny pools wakes cold and raw, Expires o melancholy bass And stops as if bewildered; then Along the frowning wood again, Flung in the thin wind's fangy face, Thou, in red, woolly tassels proud Of bannered maples, flutest loud: "Hfer Grace! her Grace! her Grace!" III. "H-er Grace! her Grace! her Grace!" Climbs beautiful and sunny-browed Up, up the kindling hills and wakes Blue berries in the berry brakes; Wilth fragrant flakes, that blow and bleach, Deep powders smothered quince and peach; Eyes dogwoods with a thousand eyes; Teaches each sod how to be wise Wth twenty wild-flowers for one weed; 136 THE BRUSH SPARROO W. 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, Long dew-drops her pale fingers fair: Big wind-retainers, and the rains Her yeomen strong that flash the plains; While scarlet mists at dawn,-and gold At eve,-her panoply enfold.- Her herald tabarded behold !- Awake to greet! prepare to sing! She comes, the darling Duchess, Spring!" 12 137 CHORDS. I. SLEEP while I sing to thee, Dulcinea,- How like a shower of moonlight-crusted beams Of textile form compact, whose veins run stars,- Discovered goddess of what naked loves !- Maiden of dreams and aromatic sleep, Thou liest. Thy long instrument against Thy god-voluptious sensuousness of hip Pure iridescent nearl of ocean slopes: Tempestuous silent color-melodies Pulse glimmering from it beaten by the moon,- Soft songs the white hands of white shadows touch.- Magnetic star set slumberous over night, Watch with me .his superior star of Earth Good Heaven was kind to grant me: Trembler, Like some soft bird, dream, while I sing to thee- Dream, languid ardor, my Dulcinea, dream. CHORDS. II. FLOATS a wild chant of morning from the hills; Bursts a broad song of sunlight on the sea; High Heaven throbs strung with rays of chords and Life's resonant paeans to Earth's minstrelsy. [thrills, Bind thou swift sandals on of youth, My love, and harp to me of truth In lands of joy or ruth. Now sheer o'er solitudes of noon the strife Of chariot fierce by chariot scintillant Flames, and the blade-bare charioteers for life, O'er-bent, close-curled, goad their hot yokes that pant. Haste not, my love, but from the beam Beside this olive-frosty stream Sing while I rest and dream. What swart Penthesilea, Amazon, Hath, smitten, hurled her shield, that crescent there; To wrench the barbed arrow leaned,-voiced one Defiant shout, breathed her red life in air.- Tho' life be close to sunset, lo, Into the sunset let us go Still lyring joy not woe. 139 140 CCORDS. How swims the Night thro' the deep-oceaned sky! How at pale lips blown stars like bubbles break, Burn, streamed from showery locks she tosses high!- A stronger swimmer, Death, glares in her wake.- Cast, love., ah cast thy harp away! Aweary ani I of thy lay- Kneel down by me and pray. CHORDS. '4' III. W; tHEN love delays, when love delays and Joy Steals a strange shadow o'er the happy hills, And Hope smiles from To-morrow, nor fulfills One promise of To-day, thy sight would cloy This 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, Tho' Hope smiles still to-morrowed, 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, Tho' Hope smiles still to-morrowed, thou wouldst steep This hurt heart overmuch In balm with one true touch. 142 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, For Hope smiles still to-morrowed, I would borrow One smile from thee to cheer The! weary, weary year. When love delays, when love delays and Death [night, Hath sealed dim lips and mocked young eyes with 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! CHORDS. IV. THOU hast not loved her, hast not as thou shouldst, 0 narrow heart, that could not grasp so wide! And tho' thy oaths seemed oaths yet they have lied, And thy caresses, kisses were-denied- Thou hast not loved her, hast not as thou couldst. Thou hast not loved her, hast not as thou shouldst; O shallow eyes, that could not image deep!- Enough! what boots it tho' ye weep and weep Her sleep is deep, too deep! so let her sleep- Thou hast not loved her, hast not as thou couldst. Thou hast not loved her, hast not as thou shouldst; For hadst thou, that confluent night and day Had in oblivion currents borne away Not one alone-but coward! thou didst stay- Thou hast not loved her, hast not as thou couldst! 143 CHORDS. V. LIFE, thou hast no power left to strive, Life, who, upon wild mountains of Surprise, Behold'st Love's citadelled, tall towers rise,- Shafts of clear, Piaphian waters poured that live. o Hope, who sought'st fulfillment of deep dreams Beyond those Caucasus of Faith and Truth,- Twixt silver realms of eld and golden youth Rolled,-cloudw2rd clustered; whose sonorous streams, Urned in the palms of Death, gush to his feet: Unlovely beauty of sad, stirless sight Mixed in them with eternity of night;- o Hope, how sad the journey once so sweet! Dreams crowned with thorns have passed thee on the way; And Beauties with bare limbs red-bruised and torn; Tall, holy Hours their eyes dull, wan and worn, Slaves manacled whom lashed the brutal Day. And Sorrow sat beside a sea so wide, That shoreless Heaven unto one little star Upon the brink of night seems not so far, And on he; feet the frail foams tossing sighed. 144 CHORDS. 145 She, her rent hair, dressed like a siren's, full Of weedy waifs and strays of moaning shells, Streaked with the glimmering sands and foamy bells, Loomed a pale utterance most beautiful. "And thou shalt love me, Sorrow !" I; but she Turned her vast eyes upon me and no more; Their melancholy language clove the core Of my fast heart; and in mine ears the sea Along gaunt crags yearned iron-husky grief; Groaned the hard headlands with the wings of Storm, Huge thunder shook the foot-hills and Alarm Gnashed her thin fangs from hissing reef to reef. So to the hills aweary I did turn.- Beyond, a reach of sunlight and slim flowers; Where Hope, an amaranth, and tearless Hours, Long lilies, lived, whose hearts stiff gold did burn. And there curled Joy clinked their chaste chalices; Distilled at dusk, poured bubbling dewy wine, Divine elixir! off his lips divine Tossed the fleet rapture to the golden lees, And so lolled dazed with pleasure. And I said, " Yield me the lily thou hast drained that I This hollow thirst may kill and so not die " To me he laughed, " I yield it !"-but 'twas dead. '3 CHORDS. And each blown reach and eminence of blooms Flushed long, low, gurgling murmurs like a sea, And laughed bright lips that flashed white teeth of glee In pearly '!ower (,n flower; pure perfumes Gasped thz roller] fields; and o'er the eminence I journe ed jo-less thro' a blossom-fire That, bidding kisses curled with blown desire, Clasped Ire and claimed me the' I spurned it hence. Then came unto a land of thorns and weeds, And dust and thirst o'er which a songless sky, Hoarse with lean vultures, scowled a scoffing lie, Where cold snakes hissed among dead, rattling reeds. And there i saw he bony brow of Hate; Vile, vicious sneers, the eyes of shriveled Scorn Among the writhing briers; each a thorn Of cavernous hunger barbed with burning fate. They, thro' her face-drawn locks of raveled dark, Stung a stark Horror; and I felt my heart Freeze, wedged with ice, to dullness part by part, And knew Hate soiled toward me yet stood stark- Fell; seeing on the happy, happy hills, Above tU at dea of dust and thorny thirst, The bastioned walls of Love in glory burst, Built by sweet g'ades of Poesy and rills. 146 CHORDS. 147 0 Life, I had not life enough to strive! 0 Hope, I had not hope enough to dream! Death drew me to him and to sigh did seem, " Love Love -thou canst not reach her and yet live! " For sorrow, joy, and hate, and scorn are bound About thee, girdling so, thy lips are dumb; And Fame, ah Fame! her towers are but a tomb- Star-set on dwindling heights of starry ground. "And thou art done and being done must die, Endeavor being dead and energy Slain, a wild bird that beat bars to be free, Despairing perished, finding life a lie." CHORDS. VI. IF thou wouldst know the Beautiful that breathes Consanguined with young Earth, go seek !-but seek No sighing Sbadows with dead hemlock-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, Who stab their own hearts to dull daggers' hilts For vengeance sweet; no miser Moods that fade In owlet towers. Such it springs above, And buds on morning meads no flower that wilts. If thou dost seek the Beautiful, beware! Lest thou discover her, nor know 'tis she; And she ensla-ve thee evermore, and there Reward thee wit:h but kingliest beggary: Make thine the robust red her cheek that stings; The kiss-swec t odor, thine, her wild breath brings; Make thine the broad bloom of her crowned brow; The hearts of light that ardor her proud eyes; That melody,--wbich is herself,-that sings The poem of her presence and the vow, That stars exalts and mortals deifies. r48 CHORDS. . 49 Lone art thou then, lone as the lone first star Kindling pale beauty o'er the mournful wave; Lost to all happiness save searching far Thro' lands of Life where Death hath delved no grave: Lost,-even as I,-a devotee to her, Poor in world-blessedness her bliss to share, But rich in passion.-For her hermitage Hope no Hydaspes' splendor, for it lies Mossy by woody waters hidden, where She, priestess pure, wise o'er all Wisdom sage, Shrines artists' hearts for godliest sacrifice. CHORDS. VII. I THEN up the orient heights to the zenith that bal- anced a crescent,- Up and far up and over,-a warm erubescence liques- cent Rioted roses and rubies; eruptions of opaline gems, Flung and wide sown, blushed crushed, and crumbled from diadems Wealth of the kings of the Sylphs; whence, old alche- mist, Earth- Dewed dowr-by chemistry occult fashions petrified waters of worth.- Then out oi the stain and rash furor, the passionate pul- ver of stone, The trembling suffusion that dazzled and awfully shone, Chamelion-convulsion of color, hilarious ranges of glare- Like a god who for vengeance ires, nodding battle from every hair, Fares forth with majesty girdled and clangs with hot heroes for life, Till the brazen gates boom bursten hells and the walls roar br stling strife,- 150 CHORDS. S51 Athwart with a stab of glittering fire, in-plunged like a knife, Cut billowing gold, in bullion rolled, and an army driven, Routed, the stars fled shriveled; and the white moon riven, Puffed,-like a foam-feather forth of a Triton's conch when sounded,- Clung, vague as a web, on heaven; then weak as a face that is wounded Died on the withering clouds and sorrowed with them and mingled. While up and up with a steadiness and triumph of spar- kle that tingled, Wrestled the tempest of Dawn, that hurricaned heaven with spangle, And halcyon bloom like mercy,-a shatter, a scatter, a tangle Of labyrinthed glory.-O God! with manifold mirth The hallelujah of Heaven, hosanna of Earth. 2. And I in my vision imprisoned was restless and wan With a yearning for vigor to gird and be gone Out of false dreams to the true-realities noble of dawn. CHORDS. VIII. \ BANIS-ING visions, whose lineaments steal into VA slumbers, Loosened the lids of the sight the night that encumbers; Secretly, sweetly with fingers of fog that were slow, Slow as a song that mysterious Passions the soul, till delirious, Wrapped irn mad inelody mastering the uttermost woe, Deep to the innermost deep it is shaken Ruffled and rippled and tossed, Tantalized, terrorized, cursed with a thirst that, unslaken, Debauches with eyes that burn stolid, yet only shall waken With infinite scorn of the cost If no note of the rhapsody's lost. 2. Oh, for the music of moonbeams that master and sweep Chords of the resonant deep! Smiting loud lyres of Night, sonorous as fire, Leap fluttering fingers of vanquishing flash and of flake Fain at each firmament-universe-instrument star-strung. Vibrating-vestured in garments of woven desire, f 5 2 CHORDS. 153 Stoop to me, breathe on me, smile on me, waver, "Awake! From waking to sleeping, to silence from mnant/old clamor, To revelous regions of mul/tform glam0our ! " Murmur and whisper "Awake!" Oh, necromance banquets by fountains of fairy, the spar- sprung! Oh, sorcerous beauties and wonders of wizards! oh take The millions of morning-spun gleams, All glitters of galloping streams, The glimmer the gasp the clutch and the grasp, That colorless crystals and virtuous jewels As spasmodic fuels Cuddle and huddle and clasp: The wrinkle and crinkle of scintillant heat in white metals; The quiver of terrible gold and the pearly Lithe brilliance of soft, holy petals, Of slender, sad blossoms, tumultuous tossed crispy and curly In shadowy reaches of violet dark; The burn of the stars and the spark Fragile of foams that are fluted, to make One cordial of dreams To drink and to sink Deep, deep into dreams nor awake. I54 CHORDS. Ix I AS to a Nymph in the ripple-ribbed body of ocean, 1 Dowr, down thro' vast stories of water, a hiss and de- Electrify altitudts orbed,-pulses violent motion [vour Of Thunder, who treads the brute neck of the seas in his power, Till their spine writhes lumped into waves,-the Nymph in her bower, Rubbing moist sleep from her eyes, arises,- Loosens the loops of her locks, Loosens, and suddenly darts on the storm and surprises The boisterous bands of the rocks, That hoot to the the riddling arrows of rain and of seas, Mountainous these;- Swirling and whirling, She of the huge exultation beheld, with long tresses, Dotted with bells of the hollow, hard foam, flung stream- ing, Dives, bounds to ':he whirlwind embracing; then mock- ingly presses Hair to wild face and wild throat, drifts desolate dream- ing; CHORDS. With scorn then laughing and screaming, Discovers full beauty of nakedness leaping and gleam- ing; And showering the rain from her hair, Pouts blown, curdled foam from her lips, And eddying slips, From the ravenous eyes of the Thunder that glare, Away, away, ITo the arms of her lover the Spray. So I,- At swift thoughts that were spoken, that came As if winds had fashioned a speech-was a flame That dwindled, was kindled, then mounted and, Marvelling why,- Stemming all thought, a gleam out of gleams Was born into dreams. 2. Beautiful-bosomed, 0 Night ! with thy moon, Move in majesty slowly to majesty lightly! Silent as sleep, who is lulled by a delicate tune, O'er-stroke thou the air with a languor of moonlight brightly! Thin ice, in sockets of turquoise fastened, the stars Gash golden the bosom of heaven with fiery scars. 155 CHORDS. Swoon down, 0 shadowy hosts, 0 multitude ghosts, Of the moonlight and starlight begotten !-Then swept Whispers that sighed to me, sorrows that stealthily hov- ered, Laughters with lips that were mist. And murmurings crept On toward me ftet that were glow; and faces uncovered, Radiar t and crystalline clear, In tortuous, sinuous swirl of vapory pearl, Waned near and more near. Flashed faster a spiral of shapes and of shadows still faster, On in a whirl of unutterable beauties by music expired, That lived and desired,- Born births of the brain of a rhapsody-reveling master; /And mine eyes, with their beauties infired, Smiled scorn on dark Death and Disaster. z56 CHORDS.5 X. H ! now the orchard's leaves are sear, IN Drip not with starlight-litten dew; Green-drowned no moon-bright fruit hangs here; Dead, dead your long, white lilies too- And you, Allita, where are you! " Then comes her dim touch, faintly warm; Cool hair sense on my feverish cheek; Dim eyes at mine deep with some charm,- So gray! so gray! and 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 from his native mountain-streams Far music of continual foam. 1 57 DEAD AND GONE TWOT well o' his going I ro think in flowers fair;- His a right kind heart, my dear, To give the grass such hair. II. I wot well o' his lying Such nights out in the cold,- To list the cricket's crick, my sweet, TG see the glow-worm's gold. III. An mine eyes be laughterful, Well may they laugh, I trow,- Since two dead eyes a yesternight Gazed in them sad enow. IV. An my heart make moan and ache, Wall may it dree, I'm sure;- He is dead and gone, my love, And it is beggar poor. A MABINOGI. IN samite sark yclad was she; And that fair glimmerish band of gold Which crowned long, savage locks of hair In the moon brent cold. She with big eyeballs gloomed and glowered, And lightly hummied some Elfin's song, And one could naught save on her stare And fare along. Yea; sad and lute-like was that song And softly said its mystery; Which quaintly sang in elden verse " Thy love I'll be." And oft it said: " I love thee true, Sir Ewain, champion of the fair." And never wist he what a witch Was that one there. A MABINOGI. A-d never wist he that a witch Clad bcund him with her wily hair, Eke with dark art had ta'en his heart Do slay him there. And all his soul did wax amort To stars, to hills, to slades, to streams, Arid it but held that sorceress fair As one of dreams. And now he kens some castle gray Wild tuirrets ivied, in the moon, Old. where through woodlands foaming on A torrent shone.... In irs high hall full twenty knights With visors barred all sternly stand; The following of some gracious brave, Lord of the land. And lo! when that dim damosel Moved down the hall, they louted low; And she vas queen of all that band, That dame of snow. Now on that knight she stared eftsoons, And cried on high unto her crew, "Behold! Sir Knights, the dastard brave Your king that slew." 50o A MABINOGZ. And all those heathen knights wox wild Attonce; and all against him drave; Long battle blades and daggers bright Aloft did wave. The press on him puissant bare And smote him to the rush-strown earth;- Tall, tall o'er all that Fairy rose Aloud with mirth. 14 GENIUS LOCI. I. W ITHATr deity for dozing laziness VV \1Devised the lounging coziness of this Enchanteri nook -and how !-did I distress His musing ease that fled but now, or his Laughed Frolic with some forest-sister, fair As those wild hill-carnations are and rare Too true, alas !-Feel! the wild moss is warm And moist with late reclining, as the palm Of what hot Hamadryad, who, a-nap, Props her hale cheek upon it, while her arm Weak wind-flowers bury; in her hair the balm Of a whole Spring of blossoms and of sap II. See, how the dented moss, that pads the hump Of these distorted roots, elastic springs From that god's late departure; lump by lump, Pale tufts impressed twitch loose in nervous rings, As crowding stars qualm thro' gray evening skies. Indulgence grant thou my profane surprise, GENIUS LOCI. Pray!-then to dream where thou didst dream before, Benevolent! . here where the veiny leaves Bask broad the fuzzy bosoms of their hands O'er wistful waters: 'neath this sycamore, Smooth, giraffe-brindled, where each ripple weaves A twinkling quiver as of marching bands III. Of Elfin chivalry, that, helmed with gold, Split spilled the scaley sunbeams wrinkled off. What brought thee here -This wind that steals the old Weird legends from the forests, with a scoff To laugh them thro' their beards Or, in those weeds, The hermit brook so busy with his beads - How many Aves, Paters doth he say In one droned minute on his rosary Of bubbles-wot'st thou -Pucker-eyed didst mark Yon lank hag-tapers, yellow by yon way, A haggard company of seven -See How dry swim by such curled brown bits of bark IV. Didst mark the ghostly gold of this grave, still, Conceited minnow thro' these twisted roots, Thrust o'er the smoky topaz of this rill, Dull-slumbering here Or did those insect flutes- x 63 I64 GENIUS LOCI. Sleepy with sunshine-buzz thee that forlorn Tale of Tithonus and the bashful Morn Until two tears gleamed in the stealing stream Trembling its polish o'er the winking grail - Nay! didst perplex thee with some poet plan To drug this air with beauty to make dream,- Ah, discreet Cunning, watching in yon vale!- Me, wildwood- wandered from the marts of Man!