Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Over all the meadow's drowning flowers,
Over all this ruin'd world of ours,
Break, diviner light!

1880.

I salute thee, Mantovano, I that loved

thee since my day began, Wielder of the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man.

1882.

TO VIRGIL 1

“FRATER AVE ATQUE VALE”

ROMAN VIRGIL, thou that singest Ilion's

lofty temples robed in fire, Ilion falling, Rome arising, wars, and

filial faith, and Dido's pyre;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Row us out from Desenzano, to your

Sirmione row ! So they row'd, and there we landed—“O

venusta Sirmio!" There to me thro' all the groves of olive

in the summer glow, There beneath the Roman ruin where the

purple flowers grow, Came that “Ave atque Vale” of the

Poet's hopeless woe, Tenderest of Roman poets nineteen

hundred years ago * Frater Ave atque Vale".

wander'd to and fro Gazing at the Lydian laughter of the

Garda Lake below Sweet Catullus's all-but-island, olivesilvery Sirmio !

1883.

Thou that singest wheat and woodland,

tilth and vineyard, hive and horse

and herd; All the charm of all the Muses

often flowering in a lonely word ;

as

we

Poet of the happy Tityrus piping under

neath his beechen bowers; Poet of the poet-satyr whom the laugh

ing shepherd bound with flowers ;

EPILOGUE TO THE CHARGE OF

THE HEAVY BRIGADE

Chanter of the Pollio, glorying in the

blissful years again to be, Summers of the snakeless meadow, un

laborious earth and oarless sea ;

And here the Singer for his art

Not all in vain may plead “ The song that nerves a nation's heart Is in itself a deed."

1885.

Thou that seest Universal Nature moved

by Universal Mind; Thou majestic in thy sadness at the

doubtful doom of human kind;

VASTNESS

Light among the vanish'il ages; star

that gildest yet this phantom top shore; Golden branch amid the shadows, kings

and realms that pass to rise no more;

Now thy Forum roars no longer, fallen

every purple Cæsar's domeTho' thine ocean-roll of rhythm sound

forever of Imperial Rome

MANY a hearth upon our dark globe sighs

after many a vanish'd face, Many a planet by many a sun may roll

with the dust of a vanish'd race. Raving politics, never at rest-as this

poor earth's pale history runs.What is it all but a trouble of ants in the

gleam of a million million of suns? Lies upon this side, lies upon that side,

truthless violence mourn'd by the

wise, Thousands of voices drowning his own

in a popular torrent of lies upon

lies; Stately purposes, valor in battle, glorious

annals of army and fleet, Death for the right cause, death for the

wrong cause, trumpets of victory, groans of defeat;

Now the Rome of slaves hath perish'd,

and the Rome of freemen holds her

place, I, from out the Northern Island sunder'd

once from all the human race,

1" To Virgil was written at the request of the Mantuans for the nineteenth centenary of Virgil's Death." (Life of Tennyson, II, 320.)

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Innocence seethed in her mother's milk,

and Charity setting the martyr

aflame; Thraldom who walks with the banner of

Freedom, and recks not to ruin a realm in her name.

He that has lived for the lust of the

minute, and died in the doing it,

flesh without mind; He that has nail'd all flesh to the Cross,

till Self died out in the love of his kind;

Faith at her zenith, or all but lost in the

gloom of doubts that darken the

schools ; Craft with a bunch of all-heal in her

hand, follow'd up by her vassal legion of fools;

Spring and Summer and Autumn and

Winter, and all these old revolu

tions of earth ; All new-old revolutions of Empire

change of the tide-what is all of it worth?

What the philosophies, all the sciences,

poesy, varying voices of prayer, All that is noblest, all that is basest, all

that is filthy with all that is fair?

What is it all, if we all of us end but in

being our own corpse-coffins at

last? Swallow'd in Vastness, lost in Silence,

drown'd in the deeps of a meaningless Past?

What but a murmur of gnats in the

gloom, or a moment's anger of bees in their hive?

.

Peace, let it be! for I loved him, and

love him for ever: the dead are not dead but alive.

1885.

Trade flying over a thousand seas with

her spice and her vintage, her silk

and her cor ; Desolate offing, sailorless harbors, fam

ishing populace, wharves forlorn ; Star of the morning, Hope in the sun

rise ; gloom of the evening, Life

at a close ; Pleasure who flaunts on her wide down

way with her flying robe and her

poison'd rose; | Pain that has crawld from the corpse of

Pleasure, a worm which writhes

all day, and at night Stirs up again in the heart of the sleeper,

and stings him back to the curse

of the light; Wealth with his wines and his wedded

harlots ; honest Poverty, bare to

the bone; Opulent Avarice, lean as Poverty ; Flat

tery gilding the rift in a throne ; Fame blowing out from her golden trum

pet a jubilant challenge to Time

and to Fate ; Slander, her shadow, sowing the nettle

on all the laurellid graves of the

great ; Love for the maiden, crown'd with mar

riage, no regrets for aught that

has been, Household happiness, gracious children,

debtless competence, golden mean; National hatreds of whole generations,

and pigmy spites of the village

spire; Vows that will last to the last death

ruckle, and vows that are snapted in a moment of fire;

MERLIN AND THE GLEAMI
O YOUNG Mariner,
You from the haven
Under the sea-cliff,
You that are watching
The gray Magician
With eyes of wonder,
I am Merlin,
And I am dying,
I am Merlin
Who follow the Gleam.

Mighty the Wizard
Who found me at sunrise
Sleeping and woke me
And learn 'd me Magic!
Great the Master,
And sweet the Magic,
When over the valley,
In early summers,
Over the mountain,
On human faces,
1 See the Life of Tennyson, II, 366.

And all around me, Moving to melody, Floated the Gleain.

Once at the croak of a Raven who

crossed it,
A barbarous people,
Blind to the magic
And deaf to the melody,
Snarld at and cursed me.
A demon vexed me,
The light retreated,
The landskip darken’d,
The melody deadend,
The Master whisper'd,
“ Follow the Gleam."

Then to the melody,
Over a wilderness
Gliding, and glancing at
Elf of the woodland,
Gnome of the cavern,
Griffin and Giant,
And dancing of Fairies
In desolate hollows,
And wraiths of the mountain,
And rolling of dragons
By warble of water,
Or cataract music
Of falling torrents,
Flitted the Gleam.

Clouds and darkness
Closed upon Camelot ;
Arthur had vanishid
I knew not whither,
The king who loved me,
And cannot die ;
For out of the darkness

Silent and slowly
The Gleam, that had waned to a wintry

glimmer
On icy fallow
And faded forest,
Drew to the valley
Named of the shadow,
And slowly brightening

Out of the glimmer,
And slowly moving again to a melody

Yearningly tender,
Fell on the shadow,
No longer a shadow,
But clothed with the Gleam.
And broader and brighter
The Gleam flying onward,
Wed to the melody,
Sang thro' the world ;
And slower and fainter,
Old and weary,
But eager to follow,
I saw, whenever
In passing it glanced upon
Hamlet or city,
That under the Crosses
The dead man's garden,
The mortal hillock,
Would break into blossom ;
And so to the land's
Last limit I came--
And can no longer,
But die rejoicing,
For thro’ the Magic
Of Him the Mighty,
Who taught me in childhood,
There on the border
Of boundless Ocean,
And all but in Heaven
Hovers the Gleam.
Not of the sunlight,
Not of the moonlight,
Not of the starlight !
O young Mariner,
Down to the haven,
Call your companions,
Launch your vessel
And crowd your canvas,
And, ere it vanishes
Over the margin,
After it, follow it,
Follow the Gleam.

1889.

Down from the mountain And over the level, And streaming and shining on Silent river, Silvery willow, Pasture and plowland, Innocent maidens, Garrulous children, Homestead and harvest, Reaper and gleaner, und rougi-ruddy faces

lowly labor, pled the Gleam

Then, with a melody
Stronger and statelier,
Led me at length
To the city and palace
Of Arthur the King ;
Touch'd at the golden
Cross of the churches,
Flash'd on the tournament,
Flicker'd and bicker'd
From helmet to helmet,
And last on the forehead
Of Arthur the blameless
Rested the Gleam.

553

[blocks in formation]

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,

Too full for sound and foam, When that which drew from out the

boundless deep Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,

And after that the dark ! And may there be no sadness of

well, When I embark ;

THE THROSTLE SUMMER is coming, summer is coming.

I know it, I know it, I know it. ght again, leaf again, life again, love

again ! " Yes, my wild little Poet. ng the new year in under the blue.

Last year you sang it as gladly. New, new, new, new!” Is it then so

That you should carol so madly? Love again, song again, nest again,

young again, Never a prophet w crazy! ind hardly a daisy as yet, little friend,

See, there is hardly a daisy. Here again, here, here, here, happy

year!"

For tho' from out our bourne of Time

and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face

When I have crossed the bar. 1889.

new

1" Crossing the Bar was written in my father's eighty-first year, on a day in October. ;

I said, ' That is the crown of your life's work ;' he answered, 'It came in a moment.'

Не еxplained the ‘Pilot' as 'That Divine and Unseen Who is always guiding us.'

* A few days before his death he said to me: Mind you put Crossing the Bar at the end of all editions of iny poems. (Life of Tennyson, II., 367.)

9

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING

LIST OF REFERENCES

EDITIONS

Poetical Works, edited by C. Porter and II. Clarke, 6 volumes, Crowell ; Poetical Works, 5 volumes, Dodd, Mead & Co.; 6 volumes, Scribner's; Cambridge Edition, 1 volume, Houghton, Mifflin & Co.; * Globe Ertition, 1 volume, The Macmillan Co. Letters, edited by F. G. Kenyon, 2 volumes. The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, 2 volumes.

BIOGRAPHY

* KENYON (F. G.), Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, edited with biographical additions. HORNE (R. HI.), Life and Letters of Mrs. Brown

H. ing. INGRAM (J. II.), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Famous Women Series). See also L'Estrange's Life of M. R. Mitford, and The Friendships of M. R. Mitford ; The Letters of M. R. Mitford; Macpherson's Memoirs of Anna Jameson ; and Forster's Life of Landor.

REMINISCENCES AND EARLY CRITICISM

[ocr errors]

HORNE (R. II.), A New Spirit of the Age, 1844. RITCHIE (Anne Thackeray), Records of Tennyson, Ruskin, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning * MITFORD (M. R.), Recollections of a Literary Life. COLERIDGE (Sara), Memoirs and Letters, Vol. I, Chap. 12 (letter of 1844 to John Kenyon); Vol. II, Chap. 12 (letter of 1851 to Ellis Yarnall). BAYNE (Peter), Essays in Biography and Criticism (1st Series): Mrs. Barrett Browning. Roscoe (W. C.), Poems and Essays, Vol. II. Ossoli (Mar

Fuller), Art, Literature and the Drama. PoE (E. A.), Works, Vol. 1890). HAWTHORNE, Italian Note-books. HILLARD (G. S.), Six

us in Italy. * W. W. STORY and his Friends, edited by Henry James.

LATER CRITICISM

BENSON (A. C.), Essays: Elizabeth Barrett Browning. CHESTERTON (G. K.), Twelve Types. DARMESTETER (Mary J.), Ménage de Poètes; in the Revue de Paris, Vol. 5, p. 295 and p. 788. * GOSSE (E. W.), Critical Kit-Kats: The Sonnets from the Portuguese, etc. MUSAND (J.), Littérature anglaise et philosophie. MONTEGUT (Emile), Ecrivains modernes de l’Angleterre, Vol. II. SCHtYLER (E.), Italian Influences. * STEDMAN (E. C.), Victorian Poets. TEXTE (Joseph), Etudes de littérature européene. Taylor (Bayard), At Home and Abroad.

« AnteriorContinuar »