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Poets, making earth aware
Of its wealth in good and fair;
And the benders to their intent,
Of metal and of element;
Of flame the enlightener, beauteous,
And steam, that bursteth his iron house;
And adamantine giants blind,
That, without master, have no mind.
Heir to these, and all their store,
Was Pen, the power unknown of yore;
And as their might still created might,
And each work'd for hiin by day and by night,
In wealth and wondrous means he grew,
Fit to move the earth anew;
Till his fame began to speak
Pause, as when the thunders wake,
Muttering in the beds of heaven:
Then, to set the globe more even,
Water he call’d, and Fire, and Haste,
Which hath left old Time displaced
And Iron, mightiest now for Pen,
Each of his steps like an army of men
(Sword little knew what was leaving him then)
And out of the witchcraft of their skill,
A creature he call’d, to wait on his will —
Half iron, half vapor, a dread to behold
Which evermore panted and evermore rollid,
And uttered his words a million fold.
Forth sprang they in air, down raining like dew,
And men fed upon them, and mighty they grew.
Ears giddy with custom that sound might not hear, But it woke up the rest, like an earthquake near ; And that same night of the letter, some strange Compulsion of soul brought a sense of change; And at midnight the sound grew into a roll As the sound of all gath'rings from pole to pole, From pole unto pole, and from clime to clime, Like the roll of the wheels of the coming of time;A sound as of cities, and sound as of swords Sharpening, and solemn and terrible words, And laughter as solemn, and thunderous drumming, A tread as if all the world were coming. And then was a lull, and soft voices sweet Call'd into music those terrible feet,
Which rising on wings, lo! the earth went round
To the burn of their speed with a golden sound;
With a golden sound, and a swift repose,
Such as the blood in the young heart knows;
Such as Love knows, when his tumults cease ;
When all is quick, and yet all is at peace.
And when Captain Sword got up next morn,
Lo! a new-faced world was born;
For not an anger por pride would it show,
Nor aught of the loftiness now found low,
Nor would his own men strike a single blow :
Not a blow for their old, unconsidering lord
Would strike the good soldiers of Captain Sword;
But weaponless all, and wise they stood,
In the level dawn, and calm brotherly good;
Yet bowed to him they, and kiss'd his hands,
For such were their new good lord's commands,
Lessons rather, and brotherly plea;
Reverence the past, O brothers, quoth he;
Reverence the struggle and mystery,
And faces human in their pain;
Nor his the least that could sustain
Cares of mighty wars, and guide
Calmly where the red deaths ride.
“ But how! what now?” cried Captain Sword ; “Not a blow for your gen’ral ? not even a word ? What! traitors ? deserters ? "
“ Ah no ! ” cried they ; " But the 'game's' at an end ; the 'wise' won't play.” « And where's your old spirit ? ”
“ The same, though another; Man may be strong without maiming his brother." “ But enemies ?"
“ Enemies ! Whence should they come, When all interchange what was but known to some ?”
“But famine ? but plague ? worse evils by far.”
“O last mighty rhet'ric to charm us to war! Look round - what has earth, now it equably speeds,
To do with these foul and calamitous needs ? Now it equably speeds, and thoughtfully glows,
And its heart is open, never to close ?" VOL. XII. -18
“Still I can govern,” said Captain Sword ; “ Fate I respect; and I stick to my word.” And in truth so he did, but the word was ones y He had sworn to all vanities under the sun, To do, for their conq’rors, the least could be done. Besides, what had he with his worn-out story, i To do with the cause he had wrong'd, and the glory?
No: Captain Sword a sword was still,
He could not unteach his lorldly will;
He could not attemper his single thought;
It might not be bent, nor newly wrought:
so, like the tool of a disused art, He stood at his wall, and rusted apart,
'T was only for many-soul'd Captain Pen To make a world of swordless men.
Max's a word 't is sweet to hear,
Laughter of the budding year;
Sweet it is to start, and
On May-morning, “ This is May!”
But there also breathes a tune
Hear it in the sound of “ June."
June's a month, and June's a name,
Never yet hath had its fame.
Summer's in the sound of June,
Summer, and a deepen'd tune
Of the bees, and of the birds,
And of loitering lover's words,
And the brooks that, as they go,
Seem to think aloud, yet low;
And the voice of early heat,
Where the mirth-spun insects meet;
And the very color's tone
Russet now, and fervid grown;
All a voice, as if it spoke
Of the brown wood's cottage smoke,
And the sun, and bright green oak.
O come quickly, show thee soon,
Come at once with all thy noon,
Manly, joyous, gypsy furt
May, the jade, with her fresh cheek
And the love the bards bespeak,
May, by coming first in sight,
Half defrauds thee of thy right;
For her best is shared by thee
With a wealthier potency,
So that thou dost bring us in
A sort of May-time masculine,
Fit for action or for rest,
As the luxury seems the best,
Bearding now the morning breeze,
Or in love with paths of trees,
Or dispos'd, full length, to lie
With a hand-enshaded eye
On thy warm and golden slopes,
Basker in the butter-cups,
Listening with nice distant ears
To the shepherd's clapping shears,
Or the next field's laughing play
In the happy wars of hay,
While its perfume breathes all over,
Or the bean comes fine, or clover.
O could I walk round the earth,
With a heart to share my mirth,
With a look to love me ever,
Thoughtful much, but sullen never,
I could be content to see
June and no variety,
Loitering here, and living there,
With a book and frugal fare,
With a finer gypsy time,
And a cuckoo in the clime,
Work at morn, and mirth at noon,
And sleep beneath the sacred moon.
ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase !)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold :-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou ?” – The vision rais'd its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answer'd, “The names of those who love the Lord."
“ And is mine one ?” said Abou. “ Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."
The angel wrote, and vanish'd. The next night It came again with a great wakening light, And show'd the names whom love of God had bless'd, And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
T'OTHER day, as I was twining
Roses for a crown to dine in,
What, of all things, midst the heap,
Should I light on, fast asleep,
But the little desperate elf,
The tiny traitor — Love himself!
By the wings I pinched him up
Like a bee, and in a cup
Of my wine I plunged and sank him ;
And what d'ye think I did ? I drank him!
Faith, I thought him dead. Not he!
There he lives with tenfold glee;
And now this moment, with bis wings
I feel him tickling my heart-strings.
Death is a road our dearest friends have gone :
Why, with such leaders, fear to say, " Lead on ?"
Its gate repels lest it too soon be tried,
But turns in balm on the immortal side.
Mothers have passed it; fathers, children, men
Whose life we look not to behold again;
Women that smiled away their loving breath :-
Soft is the travelling on the road of Death!
But guilt has passed it ? wien not fit to die ?
Oh, hush -- for He that made us all is by!
Huinan were all — all men, all born of mothers ;
All our own selves in the worn-out shape of others;
Our used, and oh, be sure, not to be ill-used brothers.