Obrazy na stronie

Those winters of abeyance all worn out,
A man I came to see you: but, indeed,
Not in this frequence can I lend full tongue,
O noble Ida, to those thoughts that wait
On you, their centre : let me say but this,
That many a famous man and woman, town
And landskip, have I heard of, after seen
The dwarfs of presage; tho' when known, there grew
Another kind of beauty in detail
Made them worth knowing; but in you I found
Mine old ideal involved and dazzled down
And master'd, while that after-beauty makes
Such head from act to act, from hour to hour,
Within me, that except you slay me here,
According to your bitter statute-book,

{ I cannot cease to follow you as they say
The seal does music ;)who desire you more
Than growing boys their manhood; dying lips,
With many thousand matters left to do,

The breath of life i o more than poor men wealth,

Than sick men health—yours, yours, not mine—but half
Without you, with you, whole; and of those halves
You worthiest; and howe'er you block and bar
Your heart with system out from mine, I hold
That it becomes no man to nurse despair, ,
But in the teeth of clench'd antagonisms
To follow up the worthiest till he die:
Yet that I came not all unauthorized,
Behold your father's letter.”

On one knee
Kneeling, I gave it, which she caught, and dash'd
Unopen'd on the marble: {a tide of fierce
Invective seem'd to wait behind her lips,
As waits a river level with the dam
Ready to burst and flood the world with foam : }
And so she would have spoken, but there rose
A hubbub in the court of half the maids
Gather'd together; from the illumin'd hall
Long lanes of splendour slanted o'er a press

Of snowy shoulders, thick as herded ewes,

And rainbow robes, and gems and gemlike eyes,
And gold and golden heads; they to and fro
Fluctuated, as flowers in storm, some red, some pale,
All open-mouth'd, all gazing to the light,
Some crying there was an army in the land,
And some that men were in the very walls,
And some they cared not; till a clamour grew
As of a new-world Babel, woman-built,
And worse-confounded : high above them stood

The placid marble Muses, looking peace.

Not peace, she look'd, the Head: but rising up Robed in the long night of her deep hair, so To the open window moved, remaining there Fixt like a beacon-tower above the waves Of tempest, when the crimson-rolling eye Glares ruin, and the wild sea-birds on the light Dash themselves dead. She stretch'd her arms and call’d

[merged small][ocr errors]

On me, me, me, the storm first breaks: I dare

All these male thunderbolts: what is it ye fear !

Peace! there are those to avenge us, and they come :

If not, — myself were like enough, O girls, r To unfurl the maiden banner of our rights, | And clad in iron burst the ranks of war, Or, falling, protomartyr of our cause, ! Die: yet I blame ye not so much for fear; Six thousand years of fear have made ye that From which I would redeem ye: but for those That stir this hubbub – you and you — I know Your faces there in the crowd — to-morrow morn We meet to elect new tutors; then shall they That love their voices more than duty, learn With whom they deal, dismiss'd in shame to live No wiser than their mothers, household stuff, Live chattels, mincers of each other's fame, Full of weak poison, turnspits for the clown, The drunkard's football, laughing-stocks of Time,

Whose brains are in their hands and in their heels,

But fit to flaunt, to dress, to dance, to thrum,
To tramp, to scream, to burnish, and to scour,

For ever slaves at home and fools abroad.”

She, ending, waved her hands: thereat the crowd Muttering, dissolved: then with a smile, that looked A stroke of cruel sunshine on the cliff When all the glens are drown'd in azure gloom

Of thunder-shower, she floated to us and said:

‘You have done well and like a gentleman, And like a prince: you have our thanks for all : And you look well too in your woman's dress: Well have you done and like a gentleman. You have saved our life: we owe you bitter thanks: Better have died and spilt our bones in the flood — Then men had said—but now—What hinders me To take such bloody vengeance on you both 1– Yet since our father — Wasps in the wholesome hive,

You would-be quenchers of the light to be,

« PoprzedniaDalej »