صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

came

rose

Among them, always earliest in his place, | And as the Emperor promised he was
Was Eginhard, a youth of Frankish race, schooled
Whose face was bright with flashes that In all the arts by which the world is
forerun

ruled. The splendors of a yet unrisen sun. But the one art supreme, whose law is To him all things were possible, and fate, seemed

The Emperor never dreamed of till too Not what he had accomplished, but had late.

dreamed, And what were tasks to others were his Home from her convent to the palace

play, The pastime of an idle holiday. The lovely Princess Emma, whose sweet

name, Smaragdo, Abbot of St. Michael's, said, Whispered hy seneschal or sung by bard, With many a shrug and shaking of the Had often touched the soul of Eginhard. head,

He saw her from his window, as in state Surely some demon must possess the lad, She came, by knights attended through Who showed more wit than ever school

the gate; boy had,

He saw her at the banquet of that day, And learned his Trivium thus without Fresh as the morn, and beautiful as May ; the rod ;

He saw her in the garden, as she strayed But Alcuin said it was the grace of God. Among the flowers of summer with her

inaid, Thus he grew up, in Logic point-device, And said to him, “O Eginhard, disclose Perfectin Grammar, and in Rhetoric nice; The meaning and the mystery of the Science of Numbers, Geometric art, And lore of Stars, and Music knew by And trembling he made answer : “In heart;

good sooth, A Minnesinger, long before the times Its mystery is love, its meaning youth !” Of those who sang their love in Suabian rhymes.

How can I tell the signals and the signs

By which one heart another heart diThe Emperor, when he heard this good vines ? report

How can I tell the many thousand ways Of Eginhard much buzzed about the By which it keeps the secret it betrays ?

court, Said to himself, “ This stripling seems O mystery of love! O strange romance ! to be

Among the Peers and Paladins of France, Purposely sent into the world for me ; Shining in steel, and prancing on gay He shall become my scribe, and shall be steeds, schooled

Noble by birth, yet nobler by great deeds, In all the arts whereby the world is The Princess Emma had no words nor ruled.”

looks Thus did the gentle Eginhard attain But for this clerk, this man of thought To honor in the court of Charlemagne ;

and books. Became the sovereign's favorite, his right hand,

The summer passed, the autumn came; So that his fame was great in all the land, the stalks And all men loved him for his modest Of lilies blackened in the garden walks ; grace

The leaves fell, russet-golden and bloodAnd comeliness of figure and of face.

red, An inmate of the palace, yet recluse, Love-letters thought the poet fancy-led, A man of books, yet sacred from abuse Or Jove descending in a shower of gold Among the armed knights with spur on Into the lap of Danae of old ; heel,

For poets cherish many a strange conceit, The tramp of horses and the clang of And love transmutes all nature by its steel ;

heat.

Cower

made;

No more the garden lessons, nor the dark | To see the calm that reigned o’er all And hurried meetings in the twilight supreme, park ;

When his own reign was but a troubled But now the studious lamp, and the de- dream. lights

The moon lit up the gables capped with Of firesides in the silent winter nights,

snow, And watching from his window hour by And the white roofs, and half the court hour

below, The light that burned in Princess Emma’s And he beheld a form, that seemed to tower.

Beneath a burden, come from Emma's At length one night, while musing by tower, the fire,

A woman, who upon her shoulders bore O'ercome at last by his insane desire, Clerk Eginhard to his own private door, For what will reckless love not do and And then returned in haste, but still dare ?

essayed He crossed the court, and climbed the To tread the footprints she herself had

winding stair, With some feigned message in the Em- | And as she passed across the lighted peror's name;

space, But when he to the lady's presence came The Emperor saw his daughter Emma's He knelt down at her feet, until she face !

laid Her hand upon him, like a naked blade, He started not; he did not speak or And whispered in his ear: Arise, Sir

moan, Knight,

But seemed as one who hath been turned To my heart's level, O my heart's de

to stone; light."

And stood there like a statue, nor awoke

Out of his trance of pain, till morning And there he lingered till the crowing broke, cock,

Till the stars faded, and the moon went The Alectryon of the farmyard and the

down, flock;

And o'er the towers and steeples of the Sang his aubade with lusty voice and town clear,

Came the gray daylight ; then the sun, To tell the sleeping world that dawn was who took

The empire of the world with sovereign And then they parted; but at parting, lo! look, They saw the palace courtyard white Suffusing with a soft and golden glow

All the dead landscape in its shroud of And, placid as a nun, the moon on high Gazing from cloudy cloisters of the sky. Touching with flame the tapering chapel “ Alas !” he said, “how hide the fatal spires, line

Windows and roofs, and smoke of houseOf footprints leading from thy door to hold fires, mine,

And kindling park and palace as he And none returning !” Ah, he little

came ; knew

The stork's nest on the chimney seemed What woman's wit, when put to proof, in flame. can do!

And thus he stood till Eginhard ap

peared, That night the Emperor, sleepless with Demure and modest with his comely the cares

beard And troubles that attend on state affairs, And flowing flaxen tresses, come to Had risen before the dawn, and musing ask, gazed

As was his wont, the day's appointed Into the silent night, as one amazed

task.

near.

with snow,

snow,

vain

secure

came

own

The Emperor looked upon him with a Long hast thou served thy sovereign, smile,

and thy zeal And gently said : “My son, wait yet Pleads to me with importunate appeal, awhile ;

While I have been forgetful to requite This hour my council meets upon some Thy service and affection as was right. great

But now the hour is come, when I, thy And very urgent business of the state.

Lord, Come back within the hour. On thy Will crown thy love with such supreme return

reward, The work appointed for thee shalt hou A gift so precious kings have striven in learn."

To win it from the hands of CharleHaving dismissed this gallant Trouba- magne.”

dour, He summoned straight his council, and Then sprang the portals of the chamber

wide, And steadfast in his purpose, from the And Princess Emma entered, in the throne

pride All the adventure of the night made of birth and beauty, that in part o'er

known ; Then asked for sentence ; and with eager The conscious terror and the blush of breath

shame. Some answered banishment, and others And the good Emperor rose up from his death.

throne,

And taking her white hand within his Then spake the king : “Your sentence is not mine ;

Placed it in Eginhard's, and said : “My Life is the gift of God, and is divine ;

son, Nor from these palace walls shall one This is the gift thy constant zeal hath depart

won ; Who carries such a secret in his heart ; Thus I repay the royal debt I owe, My better judgment points another way. And cover up the footprints in the snow." Good Alcuin, I remember how one day When my Pepino asked you, What are men ?'

INTERLUDE. You wrote upon his tablets with your pen,

Thus ran the Student's pleasant rhyme Guests of the grave and travellers that Of Eginhard and love and youth ;

Some doubted its historic truth, This being true of all men, we, alas ! But while they doubted, ne'ertheless Being all fashioned of the selfsame dust, Saw in it gleams of truthfulness, Let us be merciful as well as just ; And thanked the Monk of Lauresheim. This passing traveller, who hath stolen away

This they discussed in various mood"; The brightest jewel of my crown to-day, Then in the silence that ensued Shall of himself the precious gem restore ; Was heard a sharp and sudden sound By giving it, I make it mine once more. As of a bowstring snapped in air ; Over those fatal footprints I will throw And the Musician with a bound My ermine mantle like another snow.' Sprang up in terror from his chair,

And for a moment listening stood, Then Eginhard was summoned to the Then strode across the room, and found hall,

His dear, his darling violin And entered, and in presence of them Still lying safe asleep within all,

Its little cradle, like a child The Emperor said : “My son, for thou That gives a sudden cry of pain, to me

And wakes to fall asleep again ; Hast been a son, and evermore shalt be, And as he looked at it and smiled,

pass !!

By the uncertain light beguiled, The impending tale that terrified ; Despair ! two strings were broken in When suddenly, to his delight, twain.

The Theologian interposed,

Saying that when the door was closed, While all lamented and made moan, And they had stopped that draft of cold, With many a sympathetic word Unpleasant night air, he proposed As if the loss had been their own, To tell a tale world-wide apart Deeming the tones they night have From that the Student had just told ; heard

World-wide apart, and yet akin, Sweeter than they had heard before, As showing that the human hearc They saw the Landlord at the door, Beats on forever as of old, The missing man, the portly Squire ! As well beneath the snow-white fold He had not entered, but he stood Of Quaker kerchief, as within With both arms full of seasoned wood, Sendal or silk or cloth of gold, To feed the much-devouring fire, And without preface would begin. That like a lion in a cage Lashed its long tail and roared with rage. And then the clamorous clock struck

eight, The missing man! Ah, yes, they said, Deliberate, with sonorous chime Missing, but whither had he fled ? Slow measuring out the march of time, Where had he hidden himself away ? Like some grave Consul of old Rome No farther than the barn or shed ; In Jupiter's temple driving home He had not hidden himself, nor fled ; The nails that marked the year and date. How should he pass the rainy day Thus interrupted in his rhyme, But in his barn with hens and hay, The Theologian needs must wait; Or mending harness, cart, or sled ? But quoted Horace, where he sings Now, having come, he needs must stay The dire Necessity of things, And tell his tale as well as they.

That drives into the roofs sublime

Of new-built houses of the great
The Landlord answered only : “ These The adamantine nails of Fate.
Are logs from the dead apple-trees
Of the old orchard planted here

When ceased the little carillon
By the first Howe of Sudbury.

To herald from its wooden tower Nor oak nor maple has so clear

The important transit of the hour, A flame, or burns so quietly,

The Theologian hastened on, Or leaves an ash so clean and white" ; Content to be allowed at last Thinking by this to put aside

To sing his Idyl of the Past.

THE THEOLOGIAN'S TALE.

ELIZABETH.

I.

“Ah, how short are the days! How soon the night overtakes us !
In the old country the twilight is longer ; but here in the forest
Suddenly comes the dark, with hardly a pause in its coming,
Hardly a moment between the two lights, the day and the lamplight;
Yet how grand is the winter! How spotless the snow is, and perfect !'

Thus spake Elizabeth Haddon at nightfall to Hannah the housemaid,
As in the farm-house kitchen, that served for kitchen and parlor,
By the window she sat with her work, and looked on a landscape
White as the great white sheet that Peter saw in his vision,
By the four corners let down and descending out of the heavens.
Covered with snow were the forests of pine, and the fields and the meadows.

Nothing was dark but the sky, and the distant Delaware flowing
Down from its native hills, a peaceful and bountiful river.

Then with a smile on her lips made answer Hannah the housemaid :
“ Beautiful winter ! yea, the winter is beautiful, surely,
If one could only walk like a fly with one's feet on the ceiling.
But the great Delaware River is not like the Thames, as we saw it
Out of our upper windows in Rotherhithe Street in the Borough,
C'rowded with masts and sails of vessels coming and going ;
Here there is nothing but pines, with patches of snow on their branches.
There is snow in the air, and see ! it is falling already ;
All the roads will be blocked, and I pity Joseph to-morrow,
Breaking his way through the drifts, with his sled and oxen ; and then, too,
How in all the world shall we get to Meeting on First-Day ? '

But Elizabeth checked her, and answered, mildly reproving :
“Surely the Lord will provide ; for unto the snow he sayeth,
Be thou on the earth, the good Lord sayeth ; he is it
Giveth snow like wool, like ashes scatters the hoar-frost."
So she folded her work and laid it away in her basket.

Meanwhile Hannah the housemaid had closed and fastened the shutters,
Spread the cloth, and lighted the lamp on the table, and placed there
Plates and cups from the dresser, the brown rye loaf, and the butter
Fresh from the dairy, and then, protecting her hand with a holder,
Took from the crane in the chimney the steaming and simmering kettle,
Poised it aloft in the air, and filled up the earthen teapot,
Made in Delft, and adorned with quaint and wonderful figures.

Then Elizabeth said, “Lo ! Joseph is long on his errand.
I have sent him away with a hamper of food and of clothing
For the poor in the village. A good lad and cheerful is Joseph ;
In the right place is his heart, and his hand is ready and willing."

Thus in praise of her servant she spake, and Hannah the housemaid
Laughed with her eyes, as she listened, but governed her tongue, and was silent,
While her mistress went on : “The house is far from the village ;
We should be lonely here, were it not for Friends that in passing
Sometimes tarry o’ernight, and make us glad by their coming.”

Thereupon answered Hannah the housemaid, the thrifty, the frugal :
Yea, they come and they tarry, as if thy house were a tavern ;
Open to all are its doors, and they come and go like the pigeons
In and out of the holes of the pigeon-house over the hayloft,
Cooing and smoothing their feathers and basking themselves in the sunshine.”

But in meekness of spirit, and calmly, Elizabeth answered :
“ All I have is the Lord's, not mine to give or withhold it;
I but distribute his gifts to the poor, and to those of his people
Who in journeyings often surrender their lives to his service.
His, not mine, are the gifts, and only so far can I make them
Mine, as in giving I add my heart to whatever is given.
Therefore my excellent father first built this house in the clearing ;
Though he came not himself, I came ; for the Lord was my guidance,
Leading me here for this service. We must not grudge, then, to others
Ever the cup of cold water, or crumbs that fall from our table.”

« السابقةمتابعة »