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They drank to the soul of Witlaf,
They drank to Christ the Lord, And to each of the Twelve Apostles,
Who had preached his holy word.
They drank to the Saints and Martyrs
of the dismal days of yore, And as soon as the horn was empty
They remembered one Saint more.
And the reader droned from the pulpit,
Like the murmur of many bees,
And Saint Basil's homilies;
From their prison in the tower,
And the Yule-log cracked in the chimney,
And the Abbot bowed his head, And the flamelets flapped and flickered,
But the Abbot was stark and dead.
Yet still in his pallid fingers
He clutched the golden bowl, In which, like a pearl dissolving,
Had sunk and dissolved his soul.
But not for this their revels
The jovial monks forbore,
We must drink to one Saint more !"
GASPAR BECERRA. By his evening fire the artist
Pondered o'er his secret shame; Baffled, weary, and disheartened,'
Still he mused, and dreamed of fame. 'Twas an image of the Virgin
That had tasked his utmost skill; But, alas! his fair ideal
Vanished and escaped him still.
From a distant eastern island
Had the precious wood been brought; Day and night the anxious master
At his toil untiring wrought;
Till, discouraged and desponding,
Sat he now in shadows deep,
Found oblivion in sleep.
From the burning brand of oak
And the startled artist woke,
Woke, and from the smoking embers
Seized and quenched the glowing wood; And therefrom he carved an image,
And he saw that it was good.
O thou sculptor, painter, poet!
Take this lesson to thy heart: That is best which lieth nearest ;
Shape from that thy work of art.
PEGASUS IN POUND. ONCE into a quiet village,
Without haste and without heed, In the golden prime of morning,
Strayed the poet's winged steed. It was Autumn, and incessant
Piped the quails from shocks and sheaves, And, like living coals, the apples
Burned among the 'withering leaves. Loud the clamorous bell was ringing
From its belfry gaunt and grim; 'Twas the daily call to labour,
Not a triumph meant for him. Not the less he saw the landscape,
In its gleaming vapour veiled; Not the less he breathed the odours
That the dying leaves exhaled.
Thus, upon the village common,
By the school-boys he was found; And the wise men, in their wisdom,
Put him straightway into pound. Then the sombre village crier,
Ringing loud his brazen bell, Wandered down the street proclaiming
There was an estray to sell.
And the curious country people,
Rich and poor, and young and old, Came in haste to see this wondrous
Winged steed, with mane of gold.
Thus the day passed, and the evening
Fell, with vapours cold and dim; But it brought no food nor shelter,
Brought no straw nor stall for him. Patiently, and still expectant,
Looked he through the wooden bars, Saw the moon rise o'er the landscape,
Saw the tranquil, patient stars;
Till at length the bell at midnight
Sounded from its dark abode, And from out a neighbouring farm-yard
Loud the cock Alectryon crowed. Then, with nostrils wide distended,
Breaking from his iron chain, And unfolding far his pinions,
To those stars he soared again,
Woke to all its toil and care,
And they knew not when nor where.
But they found, upon the greensward
Where his struggling hoofs had trod, Pure and bright, a fountain flowing
From the hoof-marks in the sod.
From that hour, the fount unfailing
Gladdens the whole region round, Strengthening all who drink its waters,
While it soothes them with its sound.
I HEARD a voice, that cried,
I saw the pallid corpse
And the voice for ever cried,
Balder the Beautiful,
All things in earth and air
Hoeder, the blind old god,
They launched the burning ship!
So perish the old gods!
Over its meadows green
Build it again,
The law of force is dead !
Sing no more,
God sent his Singers upon earth
The first, a youth, with soul of fire,
The second, with a bearded face,
A gray old man, the third and last,
And those who heard the Singers three,