صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

The deep plough in the lazy undersoil
Down-driving; with a cry earth's fibres crack,
And a few months, and lo! the golden leas,
And autumn's crowded shocks and loaded wains.
Let us look back on life; was any change,
Any now blest expansion, but at first

A pang, remorse-like, shot to the inmost seats
Of moral being? To do anything,

Distinct on any one thing to decide,

To leave the habitual and the old, and quit

The easy-chair of use and wont, seems crime

To the weak soul, forgetful how at first

Sitting down seemed so too. And, oh! this woman's


Fain to be forced, incredulous of choice,

And waiting a necessity for God.

Yet I could think, indeed, the perfect call

Should force the perfect answer.

If the voice

Ought to receive its echo from the soul,

Wherefore this silence? If it should rouse my being,
Why this reluctance? Have I not thought o'ermuch
Of other men, and of the ways of the world?
But what they are, or have been, matters not.
To thine own self be true, the wise man says.
Are then my fears myself? O double self!
And I untrue to both? Oh, there are hours,
When love, and faith, and dear domestic ties,
And converse with old friends, and pleasant walks,
Familiar faces, and familiar books,

Study, and art, upliftings unto prayer,

And admiration of the noblest things,

Seem all ignoble only; all is mean,

And nought as I would have it. Then at others,

My mind is in her rest; my heart at home

In all around; my soul secure in place,
And the vext needle perfect to her poles.
Aimless and hopeless in my life I seem
To thread the winding byways of the town,
Bewildered, baffled, hurried hence and thence,
All at cross-purpose even with myself,
Unknowing whence or whither.

Then at once,

At a step, I crown the Campanile's top,

And view all mapped below; islands, lagoon,
A hundred steeples and a million roofs,

The fruitful champaign, and the cloud-capt Alps,
And the broad Adriatic. Be it enough;

If I lose this, how terrible!

No, no,

I am contented, and will not complain.

To the old paths, my soul! Oh, be it so!

I bear the workday burden of dull life
About these footsore flags of a weary world,
Heaven knows how long it has not been; at once,
Lo! I am in the spirit on the Lord's day
With John in Patmos. Is it not enough,
One day in seven? and if this should go,
If this pure solace should desert my mind,
What were all else? I dare not risk this loss.
To the old paths, my soul!

[blocks in formation]

To moon about religion; to inhume
Your ripened age in solitary walks,

For self-discussion; to debate in letters

Vext points with earnest friends; past other men
To cherish natural instincts, yet to fear them
And less than any use them; oh, no doubt,
In a corner sit and mope, and be consoled
With thinking one is clever, while the room

Rings through with animation and the dance.
Then talk of old examples; to pervert

Ancient real facts to modern unreal dreams,
And build up baseless fabrics of romance
And heroism upon historic sand;
To burn, forsooth, for action, yet despise
Its merest accidence and alphabet;
Cry out for service, and at once rebel
At the application of its plainest rules:
This you call life, my friend, reality;
Doing your duty unto God and man—

I know not what. Stay at Venice, if you will;
Sit musing in its churches hour on hour

Cross-kneed upon a bench; climb up at whiles
The neighbouring tower, and kill the lingering day
With old comparisons; when night succeeds,
Evading, yet a little seeking, what

You would and would not, turn your doubtful eyes On moon and stars to help morality;

Once in a fortnight say, by lucky chance

Of happier-tempered coffee, gain (great Heaven!) A pious rapture: is it not enough?

Di. 'Tis well thou cursed spirit, go thy way! I am in higher hands than yours. 'Tis well; Who taught you menaces? Who told you, pray, Because I asked you questions, and made show Of hearing what you answered, therefore


As if I didn't know!



Come, come, my friend,

I may have wavered, but I have thought better.

We'll say no more of it.


Oh, I dare say:

But as you like; 'tis your own loss; once more,

Di. (alone). Must it be then? So quick upon my


To follow the fulfilment and the deed?
I counted not on this; I counted ever
To hold and turn it over in my hands
Much longer, much: I took it up indeed,
For speculation rather; to gain thought,
New data. Oh, and now to be goaded on
By menaces, entangled among tricks ;
That I won't suffer. Yet it is the law;
'Tis this makes action always. But for this
We ne'er should act at all; and act we must.
Why quarrel with the fashion of a fact

Which, one way, must be, one time, why not now?

Sp. Submit, submit!

For tell me then, in earth's great laws
Have you found any saving clause,
Exemption special granted you
From doing what the rest must do?
Of common sense who made you quit,
And told you, you'd no need of it,
Nor to submit?

To move on angels' wings were sweet;
But who would therefore scorn his feet?

It cannot walk up to the sky;

It therefore will lie down and die.
Rich meats it don't obtain at call;
It therefore will not eat at all.

Poor babe, and yet a babe of wit!
But common sense, not much of it,
Or 'twould submit.

Submit, submit !

As your good father did before you,
And as the mother who first bore you.
O yes! a child of heavenly birth!
But yet it was born too on earth.
Keep your new birth for that far day
When in the grave your bones you lay,
All with your kindred and connection,
In hopes of happy resurrection.
But how meantime to live is fit,

Ask common sense; and what says it?
Submit, submit!

SCENE VI.-On a Bridge.

Di. 'Tis gone, the fierce inordinate desire,
The burning thirst for action-utterly;
Gone, like a ship that passes in the night
On the high seas: gone, yet will come again:
Gone, yet expresses something that exists.
Is it a thing ordained, then? is it a clue
For my life's conduct? is it a law for me
That opportunity shall breed distrust,

Not passing until that pass? Chance and resolve,
Like two loose comets wandering wide in space,
Crossing each other's orbits time on time,

Meet never. Void indifference and doubt

Let through the present boon, which ne'er turns back To await the after sure-arriving wish.

How shall I then explain it to myself,

« السابقةمتابعة »