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Best for the crime ; nor do I grieve, in
truth, This mask, this simulated ignorance, This affectation of simplicity, Falls off our crime; this naked crime of
A plait of hair should wave across my
neck ? Vo-this way.
Seb. Ottima, I would give your neck Each splendid shoulder, both those
breasts of yours, That this were undone! Killing! Kill
the world, Go Luca lives again !-ay, lives to sputter His fulsome dotage on you--yes, and
feign Surprise that I return at eve to sup, When all the morning I was loitering
hereEid me dispatch my business and begone. I would .. Otti. See ! Seb.
No, I'll finish. Do you think Ilear to speak the bare trutlı once for
all ? dil we have talked of, is, at bottom, fine Tu suffer; there's a recompense in guilt; One must be venturous and fortunate : What is one young for, else? In age
we'll sigh Opp the wild reckless wicked days flown
over : Still, we have lived: the vice was in its
place. But to have eaten Luca's bread, have
His clothes, have felt his money swell
my purseDo lovers in romances sin that way ? Why, I was starving when I used to call And teach you music, starving while
rou plucked me These flowers to smell! Otti.
My poor lost friend ! Seb.
He gave me Life, nothing less : what if he did re
proach My perfidy, and threaten, and do moreHad he no right? What was to wonder
at ? He sat by us at table quietly : Why must you lean across till our cheeks
touched? Could he do less than make pretence to
strike ? Tis not the crime's sake-I'd commit
ten crimes Greater, to have this crime wiped out,
undone ! And you-0 how feel you ? Feel you
for me! Otti. Well then, I love you better now than ever,
[you)-And best (look at me while I speak to
So seemed athirst for my whole soul and
body ! Otti. And when I ventured to receive
you here, Made you steal hither in the mornings-Seb.
When I used to look up 'neath the shrub-house
here, Till the red fire on its glazed windows
spread To a yellow haze ?
Otti. Ab-my sign was, the sun Inflamed the sere side of yon chestnut
tree Nipped by the first frost. Seb.
You would always laugh At my wet boots: I had to stride through
grass Over my ankles.
Otti. Then our crowning night! Seb. The July night?
Olti. The day of it too, Sebald ! When heaven's pillars seemed o'erbowed
with heat, Its black-blue canopy suffered descend Close on us both, to weigh down each to
each, And smother up all life except our life. So lay we till the storm came.
To hands, my mouth to your hot mouth,
and shook All my locks loose, and covered you with
them, You, Sebald, the same you ! Seb.
Slower, Ottima ! Otti. And as we lay
Seb. Less vehemently! Love me ! Forgive me! Take not words, mere
words, to heart ! Your breath is worse than wine. Breathe
slow, speak slow! Do not lean on me! Otti.
Sebald, as we lay, Rising and falling only with our pants, Who said, “Let deatli come now I 'T is
right to die ! Right to be punished! Naught completes
such bliss But woe!” Who said that? Seb.
How did we ever rise ? Was 't that we slept? Why did it end?
Otti. Taper into a point the ruffled ends Of my loose locks 'twixt both your
humid lips, My hair is fallen now : knot it again ! Seb. I kiss you now, dear Ottima,
now and now ! This way? Will you forgive me-be
[From without is heard the voice of Pippa singing,
The year's at the spring
(PIPPA passes. Seb. God's in his heaven! Do you hear
that? Who spoke? You, you spoke !
Otti. Oh--that little ragged girl! She must have rested on the step:we
give them But this one holiday the whole eai
round Did you ever see our silk-mills--their
inside? There are ten silk-mills now belong to
you. She stoops to pick my double hearts
ease ... Sh! She does not hear : call you out louder! Seb.
Leave me! Go, get your clothes on-dress those
Sebald? Seb. Wipe off that paint! I hate you. Olli.
Miserable! Seb. My God, and she is emptied of it
now! Outright now!-how miraculously gone All of the grace-had she not strange
grace once? Why, the blank cheek hangs listless
as it likes, No purpose holds the features up to
gether, Only the cloven brow and puckered chin Stay in their places: and the very hair, That seemeil to have a sort of life in it. Drops, a dead web! Otti.
Speak to me-not of me! Seb.-That round great full-orbed face,
where not an angle Broke the delicious indolence all
broken ! Otti. To me--not of me! Ungrateful,
perjured cheat ! A coward too: but ingrate's worse than
all! Beggar--my slave--a fawning, cringing
lie! Leave me! Betray me! I can see your
I felt you
My great queen ?
Otti. Bind it thrice about my brow ; Crown me your queen, your spirit's
arbitress, Magnificent in sin. Say that! Seb.
I crown you My great white queen, my spirit's arbi
tress, Magnificent ...
A lie that walks and eats and drinks!
My God! Those morbid olive faultless shoulder
blades, I should have known there was no blood
beneath! Otti. You hate me then ? You hate
me then ? Seb.
To think She would succeed in her absurd attempt, And fascinate by sinning, show herself Superior--guilt from its excess superior To innocence! That little peasant's voice Has righted all again. Though I be lost, I know which is the better, never fear, Of vice or virtue, purity or lust, Nature or trick! I see what I have done, Entirely now! Oh I am proud to feel Such torments let the world take credit
thenceI, having done my deed, pay too its
price! I hate, hate-curse you! God's in his
-Me! Me! no, no, Sebald, not yourself-kill
me ! Mine is the whole crime. Do but kill
me-then Yourself--then-presently--first hear
me speak! I always meant to kill myself-wait,
you! Lean on my breast--not as a breast;
don't love me The more because you lean on me, my Heart's Sebald! There, there, both
deaths presently ! Seb. My brain is drowned now-quite
drowned : all I feel Is... is, at swift-recurring intervals, A hurry-down within me, as of waters Loosened to smother up some ghastly
pit : There they go-whirls from a black
fiery sea! Otti. Šot me - to bim, () God, be
merciful! Talk by the rray, while Pippa is passing from the hillside to Orcana. Foreign Students of paint. ing and sculpture, froni" Venice, assembled opposite the house of Jyles, a young French atatuary, at Passagno.
ist Student. Attention ! My own post is beneath this window, but the pomegranate clump yonder will hide three or four of you with a little squeezing, and Schramm and his pipe must lie flat in the balcony. Four,
five- who's a defaulter? We want everybody, for Jules must not be suffered to hurt his bride when the jest's found out.
2d Stud. All here! Only our poet's away-never having much meant to be present, moonstrike him ! The airs of that fellow, that Giovacchino! He was in violent love with himself, and had a fair prospect of thriving in his suit, so unmolested was it, - when suddenly a woman falls in love with him, too ; and out of pure jealousy he takes himself off to Trieste, immortal poem and all : whereto is this prophetical epitaph appended already, as Bluphocks assures me, Here a mammoth-poem lics, Foulcal to death by buitterflies." His own fault, the simpleton ! Instead of cramp couplets, each like a knife in your entrails, he should write, says Bluphocks, both classically and intelligibly. - Æsculapius, an Epic. ('rtalogue of the drugs: Hobc's Plaister-One strip Cools your lip. Phabus' emulsion-One bottle Clcars your throttle. Mercury's bolusOne box Cures
3d Stud. Subside, my fine fellow ! If the marriage was over by ten o'clock, Jules will certainly be here in a minute with his bride.
2d Stud. Good !-only, so should the poet's muse have been universally acceptable, says Bluphocks, et comibus nostris
and Delia not better known to our literary dogs than the boy Giovacchino ! 1st Stud. To the point, now.
Where's Gottlieb, the new-comer? Oh,-listen, Gottlieb, to what has called down this piece of friendly vengeance on Jules, of which we now assemble to witness the winding-up. We are all agreed, all in a tale, observe, when Jules shall burst out on us in a fury by and by; I am spokesman-the verses that are to undeceive Jules bear my name of Lutwyche-but each professes himself alike insulted by this strutting stonesquarer, who came along from Paris to Munich, and thence with a crowd of us to Venice and Possagno here, but proceeds in a day or two alone again--oh, alone indubitably ! to Rome and Florence. He, forsooth, take up his portion with these dissolute, brutalized, heartless buglers!—so he was heard to call us all. Now, is Schramm brutalized, I should like to know? Am I heartless ?
Gottlich. Why, somewhat heartless; for, suppose Jules a coxcomb as much as you choose, still, for this mere coxcombry, you will have brushed off-what do folks style it?-the bloom of his life. It is too late to alter? These love-letters, now, you call his-I can't laugh at them.
4th Stud. Because you never read the sham letters of our inditing which drew forth these.
Gott. His discovery of the truth will be frightful.
4th Stud. That's the joke. But you should have joined us at the beginning : there's no doubt he loves the girl-loves a model he might hire by the hour!
Gott. See here! "He has been accustomed," he writes, “to have Canova's woinen about him, in stone, and the world's women beside him, in flesh; these being as much below, as those above, his soul's aspiration: but now he is to have the reality.” There you laugh again! I say, you wipe off the very dew of his youth.
1st Stul. Schramm! (Take the pipe out of his mouth, somebody!) Will Jules lose the bloom of his youth?
Schramm. Nothing worth keeping is ever lost in this world: look at a blossomit drops presently, having done its service and lasted its time; but fruits succeed, and where would be the blossom's place could it continue? As well affirm that your eye is no longer in your body, because its earliest favorite, whatever it may have first loved to look on, is dead and done with-as that any affection is lost to the soul when its first object, whatever happened first to satisfy it, is superseded in due course. Keep but ever looking, whether with the body's eye or the mind's, and you will soon find something to look on! Has a man done wondering at women ?-there follow men, dead and alive, to wonder at. Has he done wondering at men ?-there's God to wonder at : and the faculty of wonder may be, at the same time, old and tired enough with respect to its first object, and yet young and fresh sufficiently, so far as concerns its novel one. Thus,
1st Stud. Put Schramm's pipe into his mouth again! There, you see! Well, this Jules
wretched fribble-oh, I watched his disportings at Possagno, the other day ! Canova's gallery-you know; There he marches first resolvedly past great works by the dozen without vouchsafing an eye : all at once he stops full at the Priche-fanciulla-cannot pass that old acquaintance without a nod of encouragement-"In your new place, beauty? Then behave yourself as well here as at Munich -I see you!" Next he posts himself deliberately before the unfinished Pietà for balf an hour without moving, till up he starts of a sudden, and thrusts his very nose into -I say, into-the group; by which gesture you are informed that precisely the sole point he had not fully mastered in Canova's practice was a certain method of using the drill in the articulation of the knee-jointand that, likewise, has he mastered at length! Good-by, therefore, to poor Canova -whose gallery no longer needs detain his successor Jules, the predestinated novel thinker in marble!
5th Stud. Tell him about the women: go on to the women !
1st Stud. Why, on that matter he could never be supercilious enough. How should we be other (he said) than the poor devils, you see, with those debasing habits we cherish ! He was not to wallow in that mire, at least; he would wait, and love only at the proper time, and meanwhile pui up with the Psiche-fanciulla. Now, I hap pened to hear of a young Greek-reai Greek girl at Malamocco: a true Islander, do you see, with Alciphron's "hair like sea. moss Schramm knows ! - white and quiet as an apparition, and fourteen years old at farthest,-a daughter of Natalia, so she swears—that hag Natalia, who heips us to models at three lire an hour. We se lected this girl for the heroine of our jest. So, first, Jules received a scented lettersomebody had seen his Tydeus at the Acad. emy, and my picture was nothing to it: a profound admirer bade him persevere would make herself known to him ere long. (Paolina, my little friend of the Fenice, transcribes divinely.) And in due time, the mysterious correspondent gave certain hints of her peculiar charins--the pale cheeks, the black hair-whatever, in short, had struck us in our Malamocco model; we retained her name, too-Phene, which is by interpretation, sea-eagle. Now, think of Jules finding himself distinguished from the herd of us by such a creature! In his very first answer he proposed marrying his monitress: and fancy us over these letters two, three times a day, to receive and dispatch! I concocted the main of it: relations were in the way-secrecy must be observed in fine, would he wed her on trust, and only speak to her when they were indissolubiy united ? St-st-Here they come !
6th Stud. Both of them! Heaven's love, speak softly, speak within yourselves!
5th Stul. Look at the bridgroom! Half his hair in storm and half in calm,--patted down over the left temple,-like a frothy cup one blows on to cool iti and the same old blouse that he niurders the marble in.
21 Stud. Not a rich vest like yours, Hannibal Scratchy !-rich, that your face may the better set it off.
6th Stud. And the bride! Yes, sure enough, our Phene! Should you have known her in her clothes ? How magniticently pale.
Gott. She does not also take it for earnest, I hope ?
1st Stud. Oh, Natalia's concern, that is We settle with Natalia.
6th Stud. She does not speak-has evidently let out no word. The only thing is, will she equally remember the rest of her lesson, and repeat correctly all those verses which are to break the secret to Jules ?
Gott. How he gazes on her! Pity-pity!
1st Stud. They go in; now, silence! You three,-not nearer the window, mind,
than that pomegranate; just where the little girl, who a few minutes ago passed us singing, is seated.
Your letters next her skin : which drops
out foremost ? Ah,—this that swam down like a first
moonbeam Into my world !
Again those eyes complete Their melancholy survey, sweet and
Fuer Orcuna. The house of JULES, who crosses
its threshold with PHENE: she is silent, un which Jules begins
Of all my room holds; to return and
rest On me, with pity, yet some wonder too : As if God bade some spirit plague a world,
[prise And this were the one moment of surAnd sorrow while she took her station,
pausing O'er what she sees, finds good, and must
destroy! What gaze you at? Those ? Books, I
told you of; Let your first word to ine rejoice them,
too : This minion, a Coluthus, writ in red, Bistre and azure by Bessarion's scribeRead this line no sbame-Homer's
be the Greek First breathed me from the lips of my
Greek girl! This Odyssey in coarse black vivid type With faded yellow blossoms 'twixt page To mark great places with due gratitude; · He said, and on Antinous directed A bitter shaft”
... a flower blots out the rest ! Again upon your search? My statues.
then ! -Ah, do not mind that-better that will
look When cast in bronze-an Almaign Kai
ser, that, Swart-green and gold, with truncheon
based on hip. This, rather, turn to! What, unrecog
nized ? I thought you would have seen that here
Do not die, Phene! I am yours now,
you Are mine now ; let fate reach me how
she likes, If you 'll not die: so, never die! Sit
hereMy work-room's single seat. I over
lean This length of hair and lustrous front;
they turn Like an entire flower upward : eyes,
lips, last Your chin-no, last your throat turns :
't is their scent Pulls down my face upon you.
Nay, look ever This one way till I change, grow you
I could (hange into you, beloved !
You by me, And I by you ; this is your hanıl in inine, And side by side we sit : all 's true.
O my life to come! Vy Tydeus must be carved that is there
in clay ; Yet how be carved, with you about the
room? Where must I place you? When I think
that once This room-full of rough block-work
seemed my heaven Vithout you! Shall I ever work again, dirt fairly into my old ways again, Bul each conception stand while, trait
by trait, Mly band transfers its lineaments to
stone ? Will my mere fancies live near you,
their truth The live truth, passing and repassing
me, Sitting beside me?
Only first. Sue, all your letters! Was 't not well
contrived? Their hiding-place is Psyche's robe; she
As I imagined you,-Hippolyta,
relief”So you commanded—“carve, against I
come, A Greek, in Athens, as our fashion was, Feasting, bay-filleted and thunder-free, Who rises 'neath the lifted myrtle
branch. Praise those who slew Hipparchus!'
cry the guests,