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To meet me long-arm’d vines with grapes

Of Eshcol hugeness; for the cold Without, and warmth within me, wrought

To inould the dream; but none can say That Lenten fase makes Lenten thought

Who reads your golden Eastern lay, Tban which I know no version done

In English more divinely well; A planet equal to the sun

Which cast it, that large infidel Your Omar; and your Omar drew

Full-handed plaudits from our best In modern letters, and from two,

Old friends outvaluing all the rest, Two voices heard on earth no more;

But we old friends are still alive, And I am nearing seventy-four,

While you have touch'd at seventy-five, And so I send a birthday line

Of greeting; and my son, who dipt In some forgotten book of mine

With sallow scraps of manuscript, And dating many a year ago,

Has hit on this, which you will take, My Fitz, and welcome, as I know,

Less for its own than for the sake Of one recalling gracious times,

When, in our younger London days, You found some merit in my rhymes,

And I more pleasure in your praise.

Which rolls the heavens, and lifts and lays

the deep, Yet loves and hates with mortal hates and

loves, And moves unseen among the ways of

men.

TIRESIAS

30

First published in 1885, though written much earlier, as we learn from the dedicatory poem.

I wish I were as in the years of old,
Wbile yet the blessed daylight made itself
Ruddy thro' both the roofs of sight, and

woke These eyes, now dull, but then so keen to

seek The meanings ambush'd under all they

Then, in my wanderings all the lands

that lie Subjected to the Heliconian ridge Have heard this footstep fall, altho' my

wont Was more to scale the highest of the

heights With some strange liope to see the nearer

God. One naked peak the sister of the Sun Would climb from out the dark, and linger

there To silver all the valleys with her shafts There once, but long ago, five - fold thy

term Of years, I lay; the winds were dead for

heat; The noonday crag made the hand burn;

and sick For shadow - not one bush was near I

rose, Following a torrent till its myriad falls Found silence in the hollows underneath.

There in a secret olive-glade I saw Pallas Athene climbing from the bath In anger; yet one glittering foot disturbid The lucid well; one snowy knee was prest Against the margin flowers, a dreadful

light Came from her golden hair, her golden

helm And all her golden armor on the grass, And from her virgin breast, and virgin

eyes

saw,

39

The flight of birds, the flame of sacrifice, What omens may foreshadow fate to man And woman, and the secret of the Gods. My son, the Gods, despite of human

prayer, Are slower to forgive than human kings. The great God Arês burns in anger still Against the guiltless heirs of him from

Tyre,

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Remaining fixt on mine, till mine grew

In vain ! dark

Virtue must shape itself in deed, and those For ever, and I heard a voice that said, Whom weakness or necessity have cramp'd • Henceforth be blind, for thou hast seen Within themselves, immerging, each, his

too much, And speak the truth that no man may be- In his own well, draws solace as he may. lieve.'

Meneceus, thou hast eyes, and I can hear Son, in the hidden world of sight that Too plainly what full tides of onset sap. lives

Our seven high gates, and what a weight Behind this darkness, I behold her still, Beyond all work of those who carve the Rides on those ringing axles ! jingle of stone,

bits, Beyond all dreams of Godlike womanhood, Shouts, arrows, tramp of the horn-footed Ineffable beauty, out of whom, at a glance,

horse And as it were, perforce, upon me flash'd That grind the glebe to powder! Stony The power of prophesying — but to me

showers - so chain’d and coupled with Of that ear-stunning hail of Arês crash the curse

Along the sounding walls. Above, below, Of blindness and their unbelief who heard Shock after shock the song-built towers And heard not, when I spake of famine,

and gates plague,

Reel, bruised and butted with the shudderShrine-shattering earthquake, fire, flood, ing thunderbolt,

War-thunder of iron rams; and from within And angers of the Gods for evil done The city comes a murmur void of joy, And expiation lack'd — no power on Fate Lest she be taken captive

maidens Theirs, or mine own ! for when the crowd

wives, would roar

And mothers with their babblers of thu For blood, for war, whose issue was their

dawn, doom,

And oldest age in shadow from the night, To cast wise words among the multitude Falling about their shrines before the Was flinging fruit to lions; nor, in hours

Gods,
Of civil outbreak, when I knew the twain And wailing, Save us.'
Would each waste each, and bring on both

And they wail to thee! the yoke

These eyeless eyes, that cannot see thine Of stronger states, was mine the voice to

own, curb

69 See this, that only in thy virtue lies The madness of our cities and their kings. The saving of our Thebes; for, yesternight,

Who ever turn’d upon his heel to hear To me, the great God Arês, whose one My warning that the tyranny of one

bliss Was prelude to the tyranny of all ?

Is war and human sacrifice - himself My counsel that the tyranny of all

Blood-red from battle, spear and helmet Led backward to the tyranny of one ?

tipt This power hath work'd no good to aught With stormy light as on a mast at sea, that lives,

Stood out before a darkness, crying, And these blind hands were useless in their

• Thebes,

Thy Thebes shall fall and per: h, for I O, therefore, that the unfulfill'd desire,

loathe The grief for ever born from griefs to be, The seed of Cadmus yet if one of these The boundless yearning of the prophet's | By his own hand - if one of these — heart

My son, Could that stand forth, and like a statue, No sound is breathed so potent to coerce, rear'd

And to conciliate, as their names who dare To some great citizen, win all praise from For that sweet mother land which gave all

them birth Who past it, saying, “That was he!' Nobly to do, nobly to die. Their names,

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Graven on memorial columns, are a song 120 Thy torch of life in darkness, rather -thou Heard in the future; few, but more than Rejoicing that the sun, the moon, the stars wall

Send no such light upon the ways of men And rampart, their examples reach a hand As one great deed. Far thro' all years, and everywhere they

Thither, my son, and there meet

Thou, that hast never known the embrace And kindle generous purpose, and the

of love, strength

Offer thy maiden life. To mould it into action pure as their3.

This useless band ! Fairer thy fate than mine, if life's best I felt one warm tear fall upon it. Gone ! end

He will achieve his greatness. Be to end well ! and thou refusing this,

But for me, Unvenerable will thy memory be

I would that I were gather'd to my rest, While men shall move the lips; but if thou And mingled with the famous kings of old, dare

On whom about their ocean-islets flash Thou, one of these, the race of Cadmus — The faces of the Gods — the wise man's then

word, No stone is fitted in yon marble girth Here trampled by the populace underfoot, Whose echo shall not tongue thy glorious There crown'd with worship — and these doom,

eyes will find Nor in this pavement but shall ring thy The men I knew, and watch the chariot

whirl To every hoof that clangs it, and the About the goal again, and hunters race 169 springs

The shadowy lion, and the warrior-kings, Of Dirce laving yonder battle-plain, In height and prowess more than human, Heard from the roofs by night, will mur

strive mur thee

Again for glory, while the golden lyre To thine own Thebes, while Thebes thro' Is ever sounding in heroic ears thee shall stand

Heroic hymns, and every way the vales Firm-based with all her Gods.

Wind, clouded with the grateful incenseThe Dragon's cave

fume Half hid, they tell me, now in flowing Of those who mix all odor to the Gods vines

On one far height in one far-shining fire. Where once he dwelt and whence he rollid

himself At dead of night - thou knowest, and that •One height and one far-shining fire !' smooth rock

And while I fancied that my friend
Before it, altar-fashion’d, where of late For this brief idyll would require
The woman-breasted Sphinx, with wings A less diffuse and opulent end,
drawn back,

And would defend his judgment well,
Folded her lion paws, and look'd to Thebes. If I should deem it over nice
There blanch the bores of whom she slew, The tolling of his funeral bell
and these

Broke on my Pagan Paradise, Mixt with her own, because the tierce beast And mixt the dream of classic times, found

And all the phantoms of the dream, A wiser than herself, and dash'd herself With present grief, and made the rhymes, Dead in her rage; but thou art wise That miss'd his living welcome, seem enough,

Like would-be guests an hour too late, 190 Tho' young, to love thy wiser, blunt the Who down the highway moving on

With easy langhter find the gate
Of Pallas, bear, and tho’ I speak the truth Is bolted, and the master gone.
Believe I speak it, let thine own hand Gone into darkness, that full light
strike

Of friendship ! past, in sleep, away
Thy youthful pulses into rest and quench By night, into the deeper night !
The red God's anger, fearing not to plunge The deeper night ? ' A clearer day

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Than our poor twilight dawn on earth I never have wrong'd his heart, I have only If night, what barren toil to be!

wounded bis pride What life, so maim'd by night, were Spain in his blood and the Jew – dark-visworth

aged, stately and tall Our living out ? Not mine to me A princelier-looking man never stept thro' Remembering all the golden hours

a prince's hall. Now silent, and so many dead,

And who, when his anger was kindled, And hiin the last; and laying flowers,

would venture to give him the nay? This wreath, above his honor'd head, And a man men fear is a man to be loved And praying that, when I from hence

by the women, they say. Shall fade with him into the unknown, And I could have loved him too, if the My close of earth's experience

blossom can dote on the blight, May prove as peaceful as his own. Or the young green leaf rejoice in the frost

that sears it at night;

He would open the books that I prized, and THE WRECK

toss them away with a yawn,

Repellid by the magnet of Art to the which This and the poems that follow were printed

iny nature was drawn, for the first time in the 'Tiresias' volume, The word of the Poet by whom the deeps unless otherwise explained in the prefatory

of the world are stirr'd,

The music that robes it in language be. * The Wreck,' as the 'Memoir' (vol. ii. p. 318) informs us, was 'suggested by a catastrophe

neath and beyond the word ! which happened to an Italian vessel, named the

My Shelley would fall from my hands whez Rusina, bound from Catania for New York.'

he cast a contemptuous glance From where he was poring over his Tables

of Trade ard Finance; HIDE me, mother! my fathers belong'd to My hands, when I heard him coming, would the church of old,

drop from the chords or the keys, I am driven by storm and sin and death to But ever I fail'd to please him, however I the ancient fold,

strove to please I cling to the Catholic Cross once more, to All day long far-off in the cloud of the city, the Faith that saves.

and there My brain is full of the crash of wrecks, Lost, head and heart, in the chances of and the roar of waves,

dividend, consol, and share My life itself is a wreck, I have sullied a And at home if I sought for a kindly canoble name,

ress, being woman and weak, I am Aung from the rushing tide of the His formal kiss fell chill as a flake of snow world as a waif of shame,

on the cheek. I am roused by the wail of a child, and And so, when I bore him a girl, when I awake to a livid light,

held it aloft in my joy, And a ghastlier face than ever has haunted He look'd at it coldly, and said to me, a grave by night.

• Pity it is n't a boy.' I would hide from the storm without, I The one thing given me, to love and to live would flee from the storm within,

for, glanced at in scorn ! I would make my life one prayer for a soul The child that I felt I could die for that died in bis sin

if she were basely born ! I was thy tempter, mother, and mine was I had lived a wild-flower life, I was planted the deeper fall;

now in a tomb; I will sit at your feet, I will hide my face, The daisy will shut to the shadow, I closed I will tell you all

my heart to the gloom; I threw myself all abroad — I would play

my part with the young He that they gave me to, mother, a heed- By the low foot-lights of the world and less and innocent bride

I caught the wreath that was fung.

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When he clothed a naked mind with the

wisdom and wealth of his own, Mother, I have not — however their tongues And I bow'd nyself down as a slave to his may have babbled of me

intellectual throne, Sinn'd thro' an animal vileness, for all but When he coin'd into English gold some a dwarf was he,

treasure of classical song, And all but a hunchback too; and I look'd When he flouted a statesman's error, or at him, first, askance,

flamed at a public wrong, With pity — not he the knight for an am- When he rose as it were on the wings of an orous girl's romance !

eagle beyond me, and past Tho' wealthy enough to have bask'd in the Over the range and the change of the light of a dowerless smile,

world from the first to the last, Having lands at home and abroad in a rich When he spoke of his tropical home in the West-Indian isle;

canes by the purple tide, But I came on him once at a ball, the heart And the high star-crowns of his palms on of a listening crowd

the deep-wooded mountain-side, Why, what a brow was there ! he was And cliffs all robed in lianas that dropt to seated — speaking aloud

the brink of his bay, To women, the flower of the time, and men And trees like the towers of a minster, the at the helm of state

sons of a winterless day. Flowing with easy greatness and touching • Paradise there !' so he said, but I seem'd on all things great,

in Paradise then Science, philosophy, song

till I felt my

With the first great love I had felt for the self ready to weep,

first and greatest of men; For I knew not what, when I heard that Ten long days of summer and sin if it voice, — as mellow and deep

must be so — As a psalm by a mighty master and peal'd But days of a larger light than I ever again from an organ, – roll

shall know Rising and falling - for, mother, the voice Days that will glimmer, I fear, thro’ life to was the voice of the soul;

my latest breath; And the son of the soul made day in the • No frost there,' so he said, as in truest dark of his wonderful eyes.

love no death.' Here was the hand that would help me,

would heal me — the heart that was
wise !

Mother, one morning a bird with a warble And he, poor man, when he learnt that I hated the ring I wore,

plaintively sweet He belpt me with death, and he heal’d me

Perch'd on the shrouds, and then fell flutwith sorrow for evermore.

tering down at my feet;

I took it, he made it a cage, we fondled it, IV

Stephen and I, For I broke the bond. That day my nurse

But it died, and I thought of the child for had brought me the child.

a moment, I scarce know why. The small sweet face was flush'd, but it

coo'd to the mother and smiled. • Anything ailing,' I ask'd her, ‘with baby?' But if sin be sin, not inherited fate, as She shook her head,

many will say, And the motherless mother kiss'd it, and My sin to my desolate little one found me turn'd in her haste and fled.

at sea on a day, When her orphan wail came borne in the

sbriek of a growing wind, Low warm winds had gently breathed us And a voice rang out in the thunders of away from the land

ocean and heaven, . Thou bast sinn'd.' Ten long sweet summer days upon deck, And down in the cabin were we, for the sitting hand in hand

towering crest of the tides

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